Samsung has a brand emergency on its hands. After weeks of reports that its flagship Galaxy Note 7 phones were catching on fire from overheated batteries, the brand ceased production of the phone Sunday.
Last month, Samsung asked all Galaxy Note 7 owners to turn off their phones—which retail for $850—and mail them in to receive a replacement device. However, a string of complaints from consumers who received the replacement phones claiming the gadgets are still dangerous—including a phone that was "billowing smoke" from a passenger aboard a Southwest Airlines flight last week—ensued. Then yesterday, AT&T announced it would stop giving consumers replacement phones, and Verizon said the phones are on back-order. Sprint customers can still swap their damaged phones for new ones or any other type of device while the Samsung investigation is going on. Shortly after, Samsung announced it was shutting down all production.
According to data from social media analytics company Spredfast, negative sentiment about Samsung increased 186 percent in the past month. The company crunched stats from Sept. 1 to Oct. 10 and compared them to numbers from July 23 to Aug. 31.
Before the recall, 27 percent of chatter about Samsung on Twitter was positive. That figure has now dipped to 19 percent. Negative chatter meanwhile has increased from 7 percent to 20 percent. Neutral chatter has remained relatively similar from 66 percent beforehand to 61 percent afterward.
When looking at the Galaxy 7 specifically, there has been a 450 percent increase in negative chatter over the same time period. Before the recall, negative sentiment on Twitter about the Galaxy Note 7 was at 6 percent; now it's at 33 percent.
All told, there were 2,982,426 mentions of Samsung in the period before the recall. After the recall, there have been 3,987,139 mentions of Samsung.
United Airlines, JetBlue, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have all tweeted warnings about the phone. According to Spredfast, these were the top three shared posts about Samsung in the past eight days, including tweets that compare the phone to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is a human Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) October 10, 2016
[UPDATE] Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is not allowed to be checked in or used (turned on or charged) on-board. TQ.
— Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) September 10, 2016
Donald Trump is the Samsung Galaxy 7 of debaters. #Debates
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) October 10, 2016
One thing's for sure: Samsung's marketing folks have a giant PR dilemma on their hands.