Online Petition Causes Business To Rethink Its Strategy
Movie production and distribution company Dreamworks announced today its plans to release "Muy Muy Shogun Go!", a movie based on an obscure Japanese anime that it acquired the rights to earlier this year. The film will come to theaters this Christmas in its original, non-edited, non-subtitled, non-dubbed format, contrary to the earlier announced plans to edit the film and dub it into English to make it more appropriate for mainstream American audiences.
In a statement, Dreamworks representative Chad Garning explained that much of the decision to release the anime in its original form came from an online petition the company received through popular petition website www.petitiononline.com.
"When we made the decision to acquire the rights to the anime and alter it to more suit American tastes, we had no idea how many American fans of the series would be angered by the decision," Garning said. "As it turns out, we received a petition signed by over 230 people -- some of whom even wrote coherent sentences."
Garning said that as Dreamworks executives read the petition -- which they did in an emergency meeting of the Board of Directors immediately after receiving it -- they were astonished that they could've overlooked "so many compelling reasons" to bring the movie out unmodified.
"One young man explained that we would be disappointing our hardcore fans by 'chopping the movie all the fuck up and ruining its Japanese awesomeness'," Garning recalled. "Another laid out, even without the benefit of any research or mathematical projections, the massive profit loss we would incur by including English voice dubbing. These Internet soldiers really found all the holes that our top executives, who we pay six figures a year, somehow missed, despite the fact that it's their job to think of these things. Truly amazing."
The clincher, said Garning, came at signature 214.
"User 'FuckDog20' really got through to us the most with his simple, yet extremely effective statement of 'FUCK YOU FUCKING SHITS BRING OUT THIS MOVEI'," he said. "When [Dreamworks CEO] Tom Garner read that, he quietly placed the petition down on the table, looked at all of us, and said, 'Gentlemen, I think you all know what we have to do.'"
Critics have said that by releasing the original form of an anime virtually no Americans have heard of before in a language that virtually no Americans can understand, Dreamworks is setting itself up for certain profit losses on the venture. But Garning says the critics "obviously haven't read the petition".
"I just can't believe anyone would say that we're going to lose money on this thing when OtakuFan99 told us that both he and his one friend would go and see the movie on opening night if we made sure not to dub it at all," he said, jabbing a copy of the petition repeatedly with his finger for emphasis. "OtakuFan said that! And he's bringing his friend! Jeez, that's like $90 worth of ticket sales right there, and it only cost us $10 million to get the rights to the movie!"
Other companies are wary of petitions for now, but some say that if Dreamworks' venture is a success, they may follow suit and begin listening to the cries of a handful of Internet users.
"The Internet allows us to receive feedback in a way never really seen before," said Joan Tarkin, PR representative for Nintendo of America, who recently received an online petition signed by over 67 people demanding that they release their games in slightly different-colored boxes. "And any successful company will tell you that the key to success is listening to your customers."
"Well, that's it -- I'm shutting the company down," said Microsoft founder Bill Gates, dejectedly reading an online petition recently delivered to him. "The people have spoken, and 760 of them think we're a 'dangerous fucking monopoly' that should be closed. So be it."
Seconds after Gates' announcement, several major cities were overrun by what authorities described as "hyper-excited Mac users" who were "crazed with power".
Dreamworks, however, says it isn't looking to change the corporate landscape -- just listen to its fans.
"These people spend so much time on the Internet, they must know a thing or two," said Garning. "It just takes someone to listen to them."