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United Airlines May Have Strung Along the Wrong Guitar Player

We will rock you. It’s a small world after all. United breaks guitars.

If you’ve ever had the first 2 tunes stuck in your head, you won’t be able to let go of the third, either, after you watch the video below.

Dave Carroll is not happy with the ways United Airlines baggage handlers treated his tools of the trade (he has a band called Sons of Maxwell). His guitar was broken and, when United’s “policies” failed to satisfy him, he decided to take his complaint to the court of public opinion.

Dave was inspired to use his talents (and time, and friends) to produce a 4-minute music video with a great hook, “United Breaks Guitars.” It’s good; I watched all of it. And I’m sharing it with you, while I tap my foot.

United Airlines has a multi-million dollar advertising budget. Dave’s carries his in his wallet. It didn’t take Dave Carroll gobs of money to make his point, and he seems to have succeeded in generating lots of attention with his backyard budget flick. The video has already been viewed over one million times.

True, the customer is not always right. Maybe there was no placating Mr. Carroll (but is sure easy for me to believe him). With the ability for anyone to broadcast their thoughts as he did, your company better be careful that your policies err on the side of your customer. It will cost United Airlines a lot more to “undo” the impact of the video than Dave Carroll had to expend to create and distribute it.

Posted: under Brand Trouble.
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Comments (0) Jul 10 2009

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Coors Radio Ad Falls Flat

Mocking the sorry plight of your customers is never a good marketing tactic.

I was listening to the radio this morning when I heard an ad acknowledging all the people who couldn’t afford insurance. How not having insurance was such a worry. And how one company has a solution for all those suffering people.

The next thing I know, Coors is talking about the insurance on the labels of their 12 ounce cans. About how we can all feel more secure knowing that the can labels will turn blue — just like the bottles — to “insure” that the can is ice cold.

Then I thought… I bet everyone knows someone without health insurance. It’s a scary thing when you have to worry about not getting the health care you or a loved one needs, or the astronomical bills you can be stuck with if you do.

Do people without health insurance buy expensive bottles of wine? No, I bet they buy beer. But probably not Coors now.

Humor always carries a risk. Humor at the expense of a segment of your customers is never worth the risk. Customers want their needs to be understood, but not mocked.

Posted: under Brand Trouble.
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Comments (1) May 21 2009