Real-time Mishaps Shaping Social Media Campaigns

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In a world where practically everything we say or do is documented, a company’s entire reputation can be damaged because of something “someone heard someone say this one time at that place.” On the other hand, when a company has a “mishap” on national television, the potential for a whole different kind of firestorm increases significantly.

After game 7 of the World Series last week, where the Giants beat the Royals to be crowned the World Series Champions, Chevrolet Zone Manager Rikk Wilde presented World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner with his brand new Chevrolet Colorado truck. In Wilde’s sales pitch to the world (and his product description to the excited MVP), he was describing all of the great capabilities of the new truck, and finished by saying that the truck offers “technology and stuff.”

As one of the more publicized and watched events in sports (despite decreased viewership, which is neither here nor there), #technologyandstuff exploded on Twitter.

Chevrolet was faced with an interesting dilemma, which is becoming extremely common in the social sphere today. Should the big brand take this seriously, possibly fire Wilde and release press statements explaining the actual benefits of the truck? Or should it take the light-hearted route and laugh it off.

Instead of both of these options, Chevrolet embraced the attention – #technologyandstuff is now being used in the social media marketing scheme for this Colorado truck. Wilde became an overnight internet sensation, and news networks across the country picked up on the story.

Chevrolet made an extremely risky and interesting play. The company took advantage of a mishap and the added attention, and spoke to consumers in a comical way; making light of the situation, while still increasing brand awareness for the new truck, to levels (I suspect) were well beyond what would have been if this little mishap didn’t take place. When brands join in on the conversation (even if the conversation is to poke fun at itself) consumers will view the brand more favorably and the brand will be viewed more favorably.

Of course, there is an appropriate time and appropriate place for most instances, so if Wilde had done something damaging to the company or brand, Chevrolet would have been insensitive to take the comical angle. Having said that (in this specific instance) do you think that this is the proper way to deal with “mishaps” on a national scale? Do you think sales for this specific truck would be hurt or helped by a campaign like this?

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20141103/NEWS/141109989/chevy-guy-turns-into-overnight-marketing-sensation

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