Top 5 Live Demo Fails

Live technology demos with all their pomp can generate major buzz and genuine buyer interest. That is, when they go well. When they go wrong, the presenter can’t get to the airport fast enough. While absolutely mortifying for the presenter, live demo fails can be funny and educational.

Tip: Whenever anything goes wrong during a live demo, just say, “That’s a feature”. It works like a charm to lighten the mood and extract a little empathy from the audience. The next time your software freezes or the power goes out during a live demo, give it a try.

So here we go with our list of the biggest live demo fails in recent history…

5. 2007 Honda Robot Impersonates Chevy Chase

This is hilarious, and it definitely makes you feel sorry for that poor robot.

Tip: Always imagine the worst thing that can happen and have a contingency plan. In this case, have some folks with a privacy screen waiting in the wings.

4. It never happened

Most presenters know not to freak out when something goes wrong. In this Surface demo, the presenter plays it very cool. Maybe too cool? Imagine what’s going through his head when he realized he was holding a “brick”. In this case, he should have gone for the alternate hardware sooner.

Tip: Have redundancy. You should always have a backup presenter and/or a demo video cued and ready to go.

3. Director Michael Bay Exits Stage Right

This one really hurts. Director Michael Bay’s teleprompter wasn’t working, so he completely bailed and simple walked off the stage. That’s a big No-No. He’s a smart good-looking guy and he should have trudged forward unabated.

Tip: The best demo givers can wing it. While staying on script might be important to some people within your company, it’s more important to sound natural and confident. Oh, and not to walk off stage.

2. Let’s Call It “A Whiff”

Wi-Fi is a luxury and if you are giving a live demo you better have a Plan B. During this demo Steve Jobs blames the network for bandwidth issues. True enough, but the problem sure doesn’t help the demo.

Tip: Have multiple methods of access and have a local on-device option as well.

1. Blue Screen of Death

This is likely the most famous of live demo fails of all time. You have to love how the presenter exclaims “Whoa” when he sees the blue screen. But, both he and Bill Gates play it off well with a smile and comment about it not being released yet.

Tip: Be honest with the audience and yourself. If a product is not fully baked, either save it for the next event or make sure the audience knows it is getting an early look at something that’s coming soon.

Final Word
Live demos are stressful and often problematic. Call it redundancy, Plan B or whatever you want, but having a demo video that will work every time is always a smart decision. Call us at 502-581-1300.