So, you have your online and social media marketing plan all wrapped up tightly. You’re going to look like the coolest, most interesting, most AWESOME seller of your product on a near superhuman level.
Then reality hits you in the same way it hit Chevrolet Trucks when the #ChevyGuy moment happened!
This incident centered around a member of Chevy’s marketing team, Rikk Wilde. He was given the task of presenting a trophy to the World Series MVP live on TV.
Rikk may be an excellent marketer when he’s sitting behind a desk, but a presenter he was not. Here are the hilariously awkward results:
That version of the video alone has seen over 1.7 million views.
There are a number of different versions out there, pushing views to likely over 2.5 million in total. Scroll down to the bottom of the article to see an example parody video that was made with Chris Farley and some great guerilla editing.
How the Chevy guy mistake became viral marketing, not a viral embarrassment
When things like this happen, people on online love to have some fun and make jokes at the expense of some poor person who just made a nervous mistake. This can happen on social media, or on a website. We’ve had a few bad reviews from people expecting everything NOW, but we’ve had more positive comments.
Here are a few of the hundreds of tweets Chevy found themselves faced with:
I'm looking to get a new car. It should have 4 wheels, doors, an engine, windows, #technologyandstuff. Any recommendations?
— Captain Obvious (@CaptainObvious) October 30, 2014
— Jordan Gray (@JordanGray88) October 31, 2014
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 30, 2014
And that’s when things were either going to turn mean, be ignored and blow over, or be a little black eye for Chevy. Then they sent out this tweet:
— Chevy Trucks (@ChevyTrucks) October 30, 2014
That’s when they changed the whole game.
They actively invited the joke to become part of their advertising. They even put the popular #technologyandstuff on their website for a while.
You may be wondering why this was such a great thing, having the internet laughing at your company and all. Well…
— Mark J. Burns (@markjburns88) November 11, 2014
They weren’t laughing at Chevrolet, they were laughing with Chevrolet. Take a guess at who was laughing the loudest.
The real lesson to be learned
Do you know who really runs your social media marketing campaigns?
In this instance, it was a whole lot of fans and potential followers who were talking about a product. The producer of the product, Chevrolet, saw this and steered it towards their brand goals by bringing it up on their own Twitter account and webpage. You don’t control social media, you just steer it enough to get, well, 5 million dollars worth of free advertising.
The Chevrolet Twitter people got it right when they jumped in right away. But Twitter can’t function in a bubble. It was when the rest of their online marketing got involved that this went from a little mix up to a full on marketing phenomenon. This is the lesson in humility that you must learn. You can’t be superhuman all the time, you can’t ignore your mistakes, but you can be human enough to share a laugh with your followers and friends.
Now for that extra video I promised. Honestly, the whole ordeal was worth it for this one extra-silly video: