How to lose $2400 in 24 seconds (and get it back from B&H via Newsjacking)

Posted by David Meerman Scott 07:38 AM on January 10, 2012

When Kurtis Hough was filming a video on Cannon Beach, Oregon using a tripod with his $2,400 Canon 5D Mark II DSLR camera, he didn't expect that a storm surge would destroy it in just 24 seconds.

Fortunately his memory card was fine so he posted the resulting video which now has more than 1.5 million views.

Direct to How to lose $2400 in 24 seconds on Vimeo.

What surprised Hough even more than trashing his camera was when B&H Photo-Video, a NYC based retail and mail order retailer, stepped in to replace it at no cost. (Hough was an existing B&H Photo-Video customer).


A big story in the photography world becomes a perfect opportunity for a camera retailer to show support to a customer.

BH_Photo_Logo_Squared_jpg_280x280_crop_q95I connected with Henry Posner, Director of Corporate Communications for B&H Photo-Video to learn more about his newsjacking success.

"A couple of guys here found the original video on Vimeo which by then had 500,000+ views in 24 hours or so," Posner told me. "We shared it among ourselves for our own amusement because we're all photographers on one level or another and each of us felt the guy's pain. Then, we figured out that Hough was a customer and in fact had bought other Canon gear from us less than a year ago. That's when we began exploring replacing the camera and getting management on board to shoulder the price."

The B&H Photo-Video team reached out to Hough and made the offer. Soon Hough was talking up the camera replacement in television and print interviews.

"The response of the newscasters at the very end of the Right This Minute story is a strong indication of how this has been received," Posner says. "The buzz was fantastic and we were both glad to help Kurtis and excited to be part of and to have shaped the story."

In comments on photo blogs and the media stories, some people pointed out that B&H Photo-Video was offering the free camera as an inappropriate self-promotion. However, many others commented back to praise the company for helping Hough.

Posner's own reply in one of the forums told the company's side of the story: "Of course we did it in no small part for the advertising/publicity," he says. "We could have taken the same money and bought more pages in the back of PopPhoto or more air time on WCBS-AM, but in our opinion this was a far more useful way to spend that money. We did a guy who had a loss a favor and we got some PR for doing it. We're not a charity and we didn't do this for entirely altruistic reasons. But I’m glad we did it, glad the guy's got a new camera and glad it’s generated the conversation it has."

This story illustrates once again the incredible power of Newsjacking.

Learn more about Newsjacking here.

David Meerman Scott

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