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Oops: Netflix Chooses New Name Associated With ‘Foul-Mouthed Pothead’


"For me, Netflix just committed suicide."

In July, Netflix announced a new pricing structure for its DVD and streaming services. The announcement, made abruptly, caused a stir, which has continued since. The company's CEO, Reed Hastings, issued statement on the Netflix blog and released a video stating that he had "messed up" and there was a "lack of respect" to customers in the way that the company announced it was separating DVDs and streaming and increasing prices.

But there's now a new announcement rocking the Netflix boat. The movie giant has decided to rename its DVD delivery service "Qwikster." But alas, there's some baggage associated with that name.

You see @Qwikster is already a hosted Twitter account, one with several distasteful posts. Fox News has more:

Netflix changed the name of its DVD mailing service to “Qwikster” over the weekend, only to find out after the fact that the correlating Twitter handle is already registered to a foul-mouthed pothead.

The individual using the account is listed as Jason Castillo, and the account sports a doctored icon of Elmo from Sesame Street smoking what appears to be marijuana. [This picture has since been replaced.]

And even more worryingly for the PR department at Netflix, the majority of the tweets (which have gone on for months) are laced with sexual innuendo and references to drug use. In one recent gem too foul to reprint here, Castillo ponders whether or not to "blaze."

It’s probable that further tweets of hot girls, sports, and showing up late for school don’t fall in line with Qwikster’s brand campaign.

It's possible from Castillo's recent posts (i.e., "so much to plan so much deal so much negotiation") that he's in negotiations with Netflix/Qwikster to transfer the account. Business Insider's Alyson Shontell reports:

While Netflix secured the Qwikster domain, there is no record of a trademark filing for "Qwikster." ... Unfortunately for Netflix, unless you own a trademark, you can't force a current tweeter to give up his or her handle. Twitter also doesn't let users buy handles from others.

Since Jason Castillo, the person who currently owns the Qwikster handle, is an active tweeter and hasn't impersonated the movie delivery company, Netflix may not be able to stop the high Elmo icon from tweeting raunchy status messages.

All Twitter account issues aside, marketers are questioning the judgement of creating a whole new name and brand for company's DVD rental service. CNN reports:

Chris Taylor of Mashable (a CNN content partner), questioned whether the spin-off of Qwikster was "the worst product launch since New Coke."

"As any marketer will tell you, there are some truly awful times to launch a new product -- like August, when few potential customers are paying attention, or January, when they're all shopped out from the holidays," Taylor wrote. "And then there's launching your new product in the 10th paragraph of an apology for some previous poor communication, as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings did late Sunday with Qwikster. ..."

But not everyone thinks this name change is a bad move, according to CNN. Mark Suster, a venture capitalist, wrote on his blog that many short term thinkers find this a bad idea. He considers this "reactionary" sentiments and says that Hasting's explanation for the company's decision was "simply brilliant."

By the way, Hastings's apology has since been met with more consumer angst over the splitting of services and pricing:

Watch their announcement video complete with apology here:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/c8Tn8n5CIPk?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]

[H/T LiveScience]

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