Villing & Company

Turning a Swing and a Miss into an Unexpected Social Media Hit

Most baseball fans probably saw the hugely uncomfortable MLB World Series MVP Award presentation a few weeks ago. Chevrolet executive Rikk Wilde, chosen as a presenter by GM because of his affinity for the sport, awkwardly stumbled through his brief speech as he handed over the keys to a Chevy Colorado to MVP Madison Bumgarner. (I need to share at this point that I completely feel for Wilde and would definitely also be one to freeze on national TV). As would be expected at this type of presentation, Wilde was obviously attempting to get through prepared notes that promoted the all-new 2015 Colorado, which Chevy says is "reinventing the midsize pickup from the frame up." This quickly disintegrated into pauses and ad-libbed phrases such as "technology and stuff." Probably not what the Colorado brand management team would deem approved promotional copy.

As any public moment can these days, the mangled speech quickly spread across social media. The criticisms began to fly and even morphed into a soapbox for anyone wanting to share a general GM complaint. #TechnologyAndStuff as well as #ChevyGuy were trending on Twitter. There were, of course, supportive messages also. Many people empathized with Wilde, but this is still not the relevant conversation that Chevy wants people to be having about their new vehicle.

Finding itself in the middle of a social media storm, Chevy chose to wade in and guide the conversation back to where they wanted it to be. They saw the trends and jumped in on the positive side by publically supporting Wilde with a statement saying that his message was on point and they even liked the phrase "technology and stuff," so much so that they used this hashtag on a tweet that linked to a Colorado brand ad. One could even say that the situation drew more attention to Chevy's MLB sponsorship than a well-executed MVP presentation would have. I would not have been paying attention to the event but am now well aware that Chevrolet is the official vehicle of Major League Baseball.

Chevy's reaction is a perfect example of how a smart brand should handle an unexpected social media situation. This type of thing can happen to any brand at any time and we all need to be prepared to react quickly and wisely. Chevy chose not to ignore the conversation or try to bury it with apologies, but rather to turn a negative into a positive and leverage the exposure for increased brand awareness.

Filed Under: social media

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