GM Makes Unprecedented Genius Marketing Move in Wake of Chevy Guy’s World Series TV Disaster
It was Game Seven of the World Series, and General Motors had sent Chevrolet executive and lifelong baseball fan Rikk Wilde to present one lucky player with the World Series MVP award. Wilde, a Kansas City liaison for GM and an adamant fan of the Kansas City Royals, had hoped to present the award to a player on his home team.
Instead, after the San Francisco Giants shut out the Royals for five innings and nabbed Game Seven, the MVP award went to Giants player Madison Bumgarner — definitely a bit of a letdown for Wilde, who would be presenting the keys to a new 2015 Chevy Colorado as part of the award.
When Fox Sports announcer Erin Andrews invited Wilde up to the podium, he was clearly quite flustered. Sweating profusely and desperately clutching a notepad for reference, he started stumbling over the marketing spiel that was supposed to convince a global audience that Chevy’s newest product is worth the hype. Instead, he came up with a bizarre combination of a pre-planned marketing tagline and an ad-libbed, casual conversation:
“It [the 2015 Colorado] combines class-winning and leading, you know… technology and stuff, with Wi-Fi powered by OnStar.”
Social media users grabbed onto Wilde’s trainwreck of a speech and ran with it. The hashtags #ChevyGuy and #TechnologyAndStuff were trending on Twitter within 24 hours. At first, the hashtags came with veiled insults about his personal appearance, likening him to the famous SNL comedian Chris Farley, who was equally as awkward in the spotlight, but who acted that way on purpose.
But the sentiment started to change after a few hours — probably after Twitter users had gotten the chance to watch replays of Wilde’s speech on YouTube — and people realized that they actually quite liked his awkwardness and blatant fail on live TV. Tweets like “We LOVE the #Chevyguy! Don’t change a bit #Wildeman!” started popping up on Twitter.
Recognizing that Wilde’s blunder wasn’t likely to disappear, considering that an estimated 70% of social media users are connected to local businesses and receive regular PR updates, GM’s marketing team did the only thing they could do: they made an unprecedented quick move, and publicly announced their support for Wilde. Advertisements for the 2015 Colorado were edited within 24 hours, and now proudly sell the truck using the catchphrase “You know you want a truck…and stuff,” and news outlets — from NBC’s Today show to The Washington Post — all picked up the story and added fuel to the fire.
GM spokesman Mike Albano took a moment to explain the company’s decision to support Wilde’s TV catastrophe: “He was on message. The truck has technology and stuff. We will use that term and stuff.”