The Aftermath of the Ocean Marketing Debacle

Before I begin, I’d like to mention that in my previous post I had confused some of the facts regarding the two companies involved in the Avenger controller situation. Paul Christoforo, the anthropomorphic human waste at the core of this whole thing, was running a one-man PR company, Ocean Marketing (Remember, that’s two T’s on Twitter!), which was handling the marketing of the Avenger controller, a device created by a separate identity, N-Control. The two businesses were otherwise unrelated. Apologies to N-Control for lumping you in with Christoforo.

I think I can clear things up more effectively with a visual aid. Starting at 1:12 in this clip of John Carpenter’s The Thing, Palmer (David Clennon, the “man” on the end of the bench) will represent  Paul Christoforo/Ocean Marketing. The innocent men struggling to get away from Palmer will symbolize N-Control, and Windows (Thomas G. Waites, the unfortunate man near the end) will represent the victimized customer, Dave. Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade will be played by Mac (Kurt Russell). Let’s watch:

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get to it. Things have been moving really quickly in the short time since Dave and Paul’s e-mail exchange went viral.

Kotaku contacted N-Control as well as the PR firm who were marketing the Avenger prior to Ocean Marketing, The Hand Media, to try to get their opinions on the story.

It’s no surprise that N-Control have decided to cease working with Ocean Marketing, opting instead to hand the job over to an internal marketing manager at their own company. The controller’s inventor and owner David Kotkin had this to say:

[quote]”We apologize for our poor representation from Ocean Marketing[…]We wanted to give Paul a chance. He was rough around the edges, but he had drive and enthusiasm. However his behavior was unprovoked, unnecessary, and unforgivable. We are no longer represented by Ocean Marketing.“[/quote]

However, Kotaku went on to quote The Hand Media inc.’s CEO Brandon Leidel, who was handling the Avenger controller job prior to Ocean Marketing’s involvement. He gave a less political statement regarding Christoforo’s work ethic:


…[he] said ‘I know this guy at Gamestop. I know this guy at Best Buy,” Leidel said. “They saw dollar signs and decided to start working with him. We decided to walk away from this because it was a nightmare dealing with their problems and this guy Paul.”

Leidel describes Christoforo as a “rogue marketing guy” someone who operated without any rules and never checked in with The Hand Media about what he was doing.

“He was representing the company in a way I wasn’t comfortable with,” Leidel said. “I brought this up a few times and said I cant have this guy representing the company and not have any control.”


The poor man tasked with cleaning up the Avenger’s public image is the above-mentioned new marketing manager for N-Control, Eli Schwartz, who pointed out that Christoforo’s display has done substantial damage to customers’ opinion of the Avenger:

[quote]”At this point I’m just trying to point out that, what was said was someone who we hired, what he said should not reflect on the product itself,” he said. “So far the Amazon rating on the Avenger has gone from 4 and 1/2 to 1 star in around 8 hours. None of the reviews are true, they all just appeared today out of pure hate trolling.”[/quote]

Kotaku went on to mention, as Dave did in one of his e-mails to Christoforo, that this public recoil is an unfortunate thing, seeing as the controller does still work well, and provides much more control for disabled gamers who would find a standard controller unwieldy.

This is getting too serious. Did you know there’s already a Youtube video parodying Ocean Marketing? Yup. There is.

And finally, here’s the resolution to this whole fiasco. As you know, gamers and internet users are two groups which bear a reputation for being very vocal and opinionated. So it’s only logical that immediately after the story hit all four corners of the web, a riotous response from the internet community resulted in a massive flooding of Christoforo’s Twitter account and e-mail address. Well, Sir Paul of Ocean Marketing felt a little overwhelmed by this and went back to Mike Krahulik for help. Yesterday Mike (Or Gabe, rather) posted this in an update on Penny Arcade:


“At 7:12am this morning I got another mail from Paul. It was one line and simply said:

“You have the power Mike Please make it stop”


An hour later, a more complete apology:


‘Hey Mike,

I just wanted to apologize for the way our emails progressed I didn’t know how big your site was and I really didn’t believe you ran Pax , So for what’s its worth I am very sorry. Your post has obviously made my life very difficult and I have not slept yet dealing with all the spam and personal information intrusion as well as my family being smeared on the internet. If you can please accept my apology and anything you can do to help if not me my son and wife please do. I have apologized to Dave and apologized to you what else can I do please tell me so I can make things good. I obviously care or I would not be emailing you.’

[ Gabe again] I think there is a big difference between being sorry and being sorry you got caught. I have a real problem with bullies. I spent my childhood moving from school to school and I got made fun of everyplace I landed. I feel like Paul is a bully and maybe that’s why I have no sympathy here. Someday every bully meets and even bigger bully and maybe that’s me in this case.  It’s the same thing that happened with Jack Thompson. It might not always make the most business sense and it is a policy that has caused us some legal problems, but I really don’t give a shit about that. When these assholes threaten me or Penny Arcade I just laugh. I will personally burn everything I’ve made to the f–king ground if I think I can catch them in the flames.

-Gabe out”


Well said. I don’t want to leave this story on a sour note, so I want to point out that Mike and Jerry, the guys running Penny Arcade, have proven time and time again that there is nothing ‘isolating’ or ‘lonely’ about the business of video games, and have done great work to develop a sense of community among gamers. I want to congratulate them for that. Thanks Gabe, Tycho.

2 thoughts on “The Aftermath of the Ocean Marketing Debacle”

  1. I just wanted to let you know that your youtube video clip ended up haunting my dreams last night. But Mubi shows it’s one of your favourites so I might just give the whole movie a go!


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