When stoushes with corporates pay off

When you need a little publicity for your new device, there's nothing like a little stoush with a mega corporate.
Written by Darren Greenwood, Contributor

When you need a little publicity for your new device, there's nothing like a little stoush with a mega corporate.

With his smartphone accessory, the driPhone, Kiwi inventor Hayden Crowther has achieved the trifecta.

He is in a trademark battle against Apple, which not only made the front page of his local daily, the Waikato Times, but gained decent coverage across other Fairfax titles, along with a mention in the opposition Herald the following day.

This is a story that has it all.

First, we have the usual Kiwi ingenuity. Hayden has created an interesting device that keeps your iPhone or Android phone shockproof or waterproof. You can even take pictures using it underwater!

Then we have the "David and Goliath" battle of "plucky little Kiwi" taking on a "huge evil US corporate".

Finally, we have the timing of it all. The country's few working journalists are desperate for a tale that does not involve the awful holiday weather, the beach or fatal accidents on the country's highways.

So it's hats off to Hayden for not only inventing such a wondrous creation, but also for sorting out his publicity so well.

It seems that the driPhone has been available for some months now, and, bar a deal-of-the-day offering and a story in a specialist boating publication, the device has had a somewhat low profile.

However, naturally, as a start-up entrepreneur, Hayden had to go through the trademark process, which led to troubles with Apple. The company said that it wanted more time to decide whether or not it would object him using the driPhone name. What a fortuitous coincidence that it all come out over the holidays.

I am not saying Hayden has deliberately engineered such a publicity-generating controversy, but it all looks good for business, with him bringing his clever device to national attention at minimal cost to himself.

It reminds me of those stars who announce an engagement, separation, illegitimate love child or whatever when they have a new book or film coming out.

Certainly, after all the publicity, we can now expect sales of the driPhone to rocket, and I hope that they do. It seems that as ZDNet Australia continues its series of start-up advice, we shouldn't forget the publicity-seeking stoush against the mega corporate.

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