#ChevyGuy: Public embarrassment turned unplanned PR Stunt

Public embarrassment turned into great PR for GM after the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in Game 7 against the Kansas City Royals.

After every World Series victory an MVP is chosen and they usually get a car. This is usually not that memorable of an experience unless you are the person receiving the car.

That all changed when Rick Wille, zone manager and liaison between GM and its Kansas City-area dealers made a huge blunder while presenting the car to Madison Bumgarner of the Giants.

If you want to watch the video, here it is!

When the time was turned over to him he was totally shocked. He stumbled and had to look to his notes. He ad-libbed a line that would bring guffaws on social media: “It combines class-winning and leading, you know, technology and stuff, with Wi-Fi powered by OnStar.”

That was the line that made Rick Wille a star on Twitter and he became the Chevy Guy.

According to an ESPN article, #Technologyandstuff was trending on Twitter, as was #ChevyGuy, with many comparing Wilde to the comedian Chris Farley.

“ChevyGuy is the most hilariously awkward person ever,” one person tweeted.

“Chevy really sold me on their new Colorados with that class leading technology and stuff and immediate recalls!!!,” another tweeted, an obvious reference to GM’s safety problems.

Although people were mostly talking about how he messed up they were still talking about the brand. His blunder turned into a great unplanned PR stunt.

If you don’t believe me look at these statistics!

According to a Bloomberg.com article, Chevrolet, the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, has received at least $2.4 million in media exposure from Rikk Wilde’s unconventional presentation, much of it on social media, according to sponsorship evaluation firm Front Row Analytics. That’s six times more than the $392,000 it would have brought in with a more polished performance.

More people have talked about this year’s car presentation than ever before. I don’t care about trucks or Chevy, but I took the time to write a blog post about it!

Chevy even joined in the fun by using the hashtag #technologyandstuff

According to the ESPN article, Michael Albano, the brand’s top spokesman. Said that they saw quickly the ‘technologyandstuff’ tagline kind of take off and start to trend.

chevy

He said when they saw that trending that’s when they realized that they have something there to embrace.

GM should be thanking Chevy Guy for his gaffe. They got so much exposure from this it is not even funny!

Even if jokes are directed at him, Chevy is still in the hashtag and people are talking about GM.

Funny #ChevyGuy tweets:

Rob Stone ‏@RobStoneONFOX 
Disgusted that I am not going out as #ChevyGuy for Halloween.

When the world series mvp trophy was being given really inspired me to buy the Chevy Colorado. Because it has
Love ! We like technology & stuff!

We need to see you somewhere on this week
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Are internet Ad Blockers making companies waste advertising dollars?

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I love advertising, don’t get me wrong! I love a good commercial, especially creative commercials!

However, I want to watch ads when I want to watch them. If I want to watch the sports highlights I don’t want to have to watch a 15 to 30 second ad for every single video.

I watch a lot of highlights so I used to watch a lot commercials. Then I downloaded Ad Block Plus for Chrome. It’s amazing!

This begs the question, how many people are using ad blockers? Virtually no one I have talked to knew about Ad Block Plus or ad blockers at all.

At my new job one of the clients decided to run an ad on Pandora. While in the meeting I thought to myself, ‘I would never see that ad, I have an ad blocker’. That’s when the following question dawned on me!

Are Ad Blocks on the internet making companies waste advertising dollars? Should they invest that money in public relations or in other departments?

After thinking about it for a few days I thought that only a small percentage of the population would actually use ad blockers. Then I looked up some statistics and I was shocked!

When you go to download Adblock Plus on Chrome is shows that there are over 10 million users.

I went to Modzilla Add-ons section and they have a staggering amount of users using ad blockers too.

Modzilla ad blocker

That is a lot more people than I thought! Are companies throwing away money on internet advertising?

A recent report from PageFair, a service that websites can use to measure the extent of ad-blocking, sheds some light on just how afflicted those sites are. Based on data from 220 clients, PageFair found an average ad-blocking rate of 22.7%. It estimates that one if its “typical” clients, with a 25% block rate, loses about $500,000 a year due to blockers. Based on data from a small sample of clients, PageFair says ad blocking is growing 43% every year!

Looks like I was just proven wrong! Those numbers are way higher than I thought!

It looks like it is time for companies to invest that money in PR. Of course I am bias, but is PR a better option? I don’t have all the answer, but I do know that consistency is key. So, if you have an advertising budget that is bringing in revenue then don’t mess with it.

If you see that money slipping away with no return, then it is time to take a step back and evaluate where you are spending those advertising dollars!

I am by no means saying that just because of this report that people should stop advertising on the internet. It does however shed some light on growing ad block use. I also show the fact that companies should step back and evaluate.

If the internet ads are being blocked then where do you advertise? Traditional media is slowing down. I would never pay to place an ad in a newspaper or Yellowpages. Unless I was targeting a demographic above 65!

To finish off I would like to close with this point! I usually visit a site and there are a lot of ads on it. I recently tried to enter the site and it would not let me enter in without disabling my ad blocker. Why would they do that? Companies must have been getting mad because people weren’t seeing their ads.

In the last 8 months my ad blocker has blocked 41,784 ads.

Now it’s time to hear from you! Do you use ad blockers? Are companies wasting money?

CIA Twitter account, Good or Bad PR?

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Over the years Twitter has grown and most companies have a Twitter account. Twitter is known mostly for its ability for instant breaking news, but mostly for its humor.

In my opinion funny tweets get the most engagement.

If Twitter is known as a humor platform should companies or organizations try and be funny on Twitter?

I am asking question but to be honest I am not sure if there is a blanket answer here.

Let’s take the CIA for example, yeah that CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency. They recently just got a Twitter and they have 720,000 followers in just over a month.

How did they get all of those followers? Humor. It is ironic that an agency that is sworn to protect information would get a social media platform to publish information to the entire world.

Here was their first tweet.

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However, my favorite tweet was their second one. Look at how many favorite and retweets it got.

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After looking at the CIA Twitter feed they don’t just post funny tweets, they have newsworthy content. However, the tweets that get the most engagement are the funny tweets.

Some people might say that the CIA shouldn’t be funny and that it hurts their image, but I think that it is hilarious. I am now following the CIA because I want to see what they have to offer.

I think it would be stressful to run the CIA Twitter account, that would not be fun!

I asked a few people around me of companies or organizations that it would be inappropriate for them to tweet out funny things. Here are some of the answers:

  • Funeral Homes
  • Religious Groups
  • Charity groups

I agree with these, it would definitely be OK for these companies to have humorous Twitter feeds! I think that large corporation like Taco Bell, Walmart, Target and food places can get away with being humorous on Twitter.

There is one catch to that, there is always a catch. People can tell when companies are trying to hard to be funny.

Let me know what your thoughts are! below!

 

Social Media: Blessing or a Curse?

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Just for starters I don’t think that social media is a curse at all, but for some companies these days it seems to be that way.

What I am referring to is companies posting inaccurate, offensive and misleading posts. I am mainly talking about Twitter.

The most recent mishap was Delta. They were trying to be newsworthy and tweet about the World Cup, but it ended up just bringing negative attention.

Personally when I saw this I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Statue of Liberty represents the USA and the giraffe represents Ghana. People had a problem with this because giraffes are only indigenous to southern and eastern Africa.

A lot of people are poking fun at Delta because they are an airline company and should know geography. This isn’t a huge problem for me. It was an honest mistake. However, social media in this case harmed their image.

If someone had researched a little more or taken a little more time there wouldn’t have been a problem. However, let’s look at Delta’s side. Delta’s social media team wanted to get an image up fast so people would interact them them. Tweets on a Twitter feed don’t last long, so you have to get your content up fast.

It was their follow up tweet trying to apologize that dug them a deeper hole.

They meant to say previous, but put the word precious instead! Ouch!

What’s worse, the fact that they misspelled a word or that 35 people retweeted it and didn’t notice?

Let’s me honest it could have have been much worse.

U.S Airways was responding to a complaint on Twitter and someone from U.S. Airways tweeted a pornographic picture of a lady. Don’t look it up! I know by saying that you are now going to look it up, just don’t.

@Chinmay_Vaidya– I would HATE to be in PR for US Airways right now
I agree, that is a tough situation. How do you accidentally tweet out a pornographic picture?
Businesses have the blessing or curse of having social media. It can either boost their impressions or just create PR nightmares.
It is just amazing to see the difference between companies that get in PR problem and companies like Taco Bell who are masters of Twitter. For Taco Bell a four-word tweet can get thousands and thousands of favorites and retweets.
Companies and individuals need to think before posting! You may delete it, but you don’t know has seen it and the consequences that might come.
P.S. Proof reading also helps!

How effective are New Age PR Stunts?

Public relations is known for doing stunts to get publicity. Traditionally they have relied on journalists and media gatekeepers to publish media for them. They have also had to rely on new stations to pick up their story.

With the New Age PR stunts companies don’t need any of that. No need to contact journalists, gatekeepers or worry about buying costly media space.

Companies have found a new way to hone in on the highly digital age that we live in.

I have been thinking a lot recently about the changes that have been made in public relations just over the last five years. Public relations relied so much on others before, but now when it is done right you can have a successful PR stunt done in-house.

The latest PR stunt recently that drove me to write this blog was done by Ubisoft to promote their new game Watch Dogs.

Before you watch the video let me explain about the game in one sentence. The game Watch Dogs is based in future Chicago and the main character can hack into any system using his cell phone, whether than be shutting off lights or changing traffic lights.

In just over two weeks of the video being put on YouTube it has almost 13 million views. There are some video that have gotten more views in the same time period, but this is still impressive.

I can infer that the producers of the video are pleased with the 12.7 millions views, but want more.

These type of videos have been going on for about the last six months. The first one I remember seeing was the Jeff Gordon Pepsi MAX prank. This video has over 43 million views.

People thought that it was fake so they made another video to prove themselves.

Other notable one to watch if you have time is the Devil Baby prank in New York and the promo PR stunt for the movie Carrie. The Carrie video got 57 millions views.

I watched the behind the scenes video for the Street Hacks video and there were a lot of factors that played into the video. It was very complicated and intricate.

It may have cost a lot of money to make the video, but they didn’t have to pay for any commercials on TV. They didn’t have to pay thousands of dollars for a TV spot, which people could easily miss if they left the room.

By putting the video on YouTube they are able to know exactly how many people viewed the video. They know that the audience and demographic for Internet use is only growing.

They could have made a commercial and then placed the commercial on YouTube and then have people share that, but why use the middle man? Put it straight on YouTube.

I think that these New Age PR stunts are very effective. I am not saying that traditional media is a waste, but a lot of companies are going in this new direction.

The amazing thing is that people are choosing to watch your PR stunt a.k.a “commercial.” If a friend shares the video people are going to be more likely to watch the video themselves. They will also be more likely to share and mention the video to friends.

If their friends mention it to them they are most likely going type in “Watch Dogs Prank” on Goolge or YouTube, driving their traffic and impression through the roof.

If you look on Google trends, people searching for Watch Dogs has gone up exponentially since April.  Check out the picture below.

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I think that they are effective for impressions, whether they impact sales or not is a discussion for another day.

Foursquare Fail, Swarm Sinking

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Recently Foursquare decided to split their check-in app into two separate apps. Foursquare is now turning into a wanna-be Yelp, and Swarm is the new check-in app.

I first found out about this because when I was checking into places on Foursquare where I was the mayor it wasn’t notifying me that I was the mayor anymore.

I tweeted at @4sqsupport and they responded quickly informing me that they were making way for Mayor 2.0.

foursquare support ‏@4sqSupport  May 13

@TaylorBentall Hi there! We’re making way for mayors 2.0! See more here: http://blog.foursquare.com/post/85232472353/mayorships-and-more-how-swarm-is-going-to-make-your …

According to their blog these are the three reasons for them splitting the app:

  1. Points became arbitrary and less reflective of real-world achievement, because a check-in at a concert in Istanbul is really different than one at a dog park in New York (and the thousands of types of check-ins in between).
  2. We created hundreds and hundreds of badges to appeal to different people around the world. Some of you want more, though we hear more often that badges stopped feeling special a long time ago.
  3. Mayors were great when Foursquare was small and you were competing against your friends to rule the neighborhood coffee shop, but as more people signed up, earning a mayor crown became impossible.

When I read the way Swarm would work I wasn’t very happy.

I now have to compete with my friends to become a mayor, oh wait I have 12 friends that use Foursquare. I don’t compete with my friends for mayorship, I compete with the people in town. That’s the whole point of the app.

They also introduced stickers, which are a waste of time. If you want to read all the details check out the blog. I don’t want to copy and paste their whole blog in here. http://bit.ly/1lFXrvX

swarm

I downloaded Swarm and gave it a chance for a week and I finally deleted it yesterday.

I deleted it for three reasons:

1. I check into places where I am the mayor and nothing happened. The whole point of checking in is to feel a sense of accomplishment and I don’t feel that with Swarm. It is just a waste of time now.

2. The app has an auto-location setting and tries to guess where I am. That’s not the point!! I am supposed to tell you where I am, not the other way around. Oh and the location is always on so it kills your battery.

3. It shows everyone’s check-ins, every.single.one. I doesn’t show just their last check-in, so I have to scroll through a bunch of posts to see older ones.

Honestly the app design is really cool. I love the new feature of being able to make plans. I think it is cool.

The reviews on the app story have been overwhelmingly negative. The people gave it a 5 star rating said, “I like it but, [enter problem].”

There are as many 1 star ratings as there are positive.

Here are some 1 star reviews:

Royman0: “I miss some of the game aspects like badges and leveling up… the stickers don’t seem that fun.

Sixonthefloor: “I don’t like having to use two apps to check into one place. Why can’t you just keep it simple and use one app?”

I am sitting here wondering the same thing. I am not going to use Foursquare to check reviews on places. I use Google. They are fighting a battle they aren’t going to win

Salvag98: “I have been using Foursqaure for years, I just can’t figure out why they are inisiting on splitting the app in two.”

It goes on and on. I understand that it is a new app and it might have technical flaws. I am not worried about those. I am worried about why they changed everything. They messed with something good and made it bad.

With all these negative reviews I am wondering what research they did. What audience did they research to think that this would work?All of the 5 star ratings seem to be people that know nothing about the app and haven’t used Foursquare. New users might be happy, but they don’t know what they are missing.

All the negative reviews come from people that have been using Foursquare for years

Funkyman3333: “Ack! This is awful! I’ve used Foursquare for 4-5 years and love it. I cared less about where my friends were. The gamification is gone- no more points, no badges and mayorship is stupid.”

This is the audience that they should have been talking to. The three reasons above for changing it are the exact reasons that people hate Swarm now. Badges, points and mayors. People liked it and now they removed because they think that people don’t like them.

This blows my mind! I told everyone how great Foursquare was, now all I can talk about is how mad I am that they split the app. I will only go back if they change things and even then it is a long shot.

UPDATE: November 7, 2014

I got an email from Foursquare yesterday with his image in it!

I am still not satisfied! I know that they probably took the feedback and did what they could, but it just won’t be the same. They should have done this research beforehand, instead of trying to fix it after. Good PR move with the email by saying that you listened to the consumer.

If they asked me the first time though this wouldn’t have happened! I am still not downloading it, I will never download it again! They are just going to have to live with the fact that they made the biggest mistake by getting greedy and trying to split the app!

4sq

NYPD Twitter Fail

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Here is another lesson on Twitter and hashtags, just because you create it doesn’t mean that you own it. The New York City Police Department learned that the hard way.The New York Police Department on Tuesday asked people to post photos with its officers using the hashtag #myNYPD. They thought they had a cool way to show police and praise the police of New York – it backfired.

They got a lot of responses and they were mostly negative.

The posts mostly showed police brutality or misconduct. This was not the result that the police department was looking for.

When a company creates a hashtag it is important to think of the consequences and potential outcomes. This was a great idea in theory, but they didn’t plan it out that well.

Not only did this create a problem for the NYPD, but people in other cities starting posting negative pictures with #myLAPD and #myCPD.

According to a CNN article Deputy Chief Kim Y. Royster said that the posts weren’t all bad.

This isn’t the first time that a hashtag has been highjacked, so you think that businesses would have learned by now.

When you are about to name your child you have to put their name through the “Tease Test.” For example: If you are going to name you kid Brady. Kids might call him Tom Brady or they might call him Brady Bunch or something negative.

Matt Markiewicz @MattMarkiewicz

I feel like at least one person at @NYPDnews should’ve seen this whole #MyNYPD thing backfiring. Like, seriously guys. It’s the internet.

I totally agree with you Matt!

Recently, celebrities have been using Twitter as a question and answer forum. It usually backfires.

One that I saw recently involved James Neal and hockey player for the Pittsburg Penguins. The hashtag was #askneal. Just some background for all you non-hockey folks. James Neal has been know for some cheap shots and dirt plays. Here are some of the tweets:

Steph ‏@myregularface  Mar 24

If you could have any super power, how would you use it to hit opponents in the head? #askneal

Sarah Connors ‏@sarah_connors  Mar 24

Do you make rocket noises when you launch yourself at peoples’ heads? if not, why? #AskNeal

#BeatDetroit ‏@Marchant_63  Mar 24

#askneal what’s your favorite strategy when facing an opponent? Elbowing? High hitting? Cross checking? Knee to knees?

Two Olympic marketing campaigns for McDonalds and Coke got highjacked by gay rights activists. They spent millions on those campaigns and they were ruined within days of launching.

Not too long ago J.P Morgan tried the same thing on Twitter.

J.P. Morgan announced a Q&A on Twitter this past Nov. after they were fined $920 million over its “London Whale” trading loss. They wanted people to ask questions so they could clear the air on Twitter. Their goal was to interact with customers and it was a complete fail.

Instead of receiving real questions about the allegations they received a whole bunch of hate texts.

Here are just a few:

Did you always want to be part of a vast, corrupt criminal enterprise or did you “break bad”?”

Did you have a specific number of people’s lives you needed to ruin before you considered your business model a success?”

What section of the poor & disenfranchised have you yet to exploit for profit, & how are you working to address that?”

Why aren’t you in jail for sending a literal ton of gold bullion to Iran in violation of sanctions?

Definitely not the interaction they were looking for.

Lessons to learn:

  1. Make sure you have a plan
  2. Thing of all possible negative outcomes
  3. Test before launching and get feedback