Right after the last out of the 2014 World Series, Chevy gave a pickup to the most valuable player. The poor guy tasked to present the keys looked like he was about to have a stroke. He struggled to get words out, sweated profusely and started to stutter. When he got to the part where he was supposed to tell all the world about the truck’s impressive features, he blurted out that it had “technology and stuff” then thrust the keys in the MVP’s hand – all on live national TV.
Disaster or opportunity?
Here is some of the back story. Dan Ammann has been the president of General Motors for about a year. Part of his strategy is to “put the right people in place and let them make decisions.” Oh, the risk!
Within hours a member of the empowered Chevy team was being bold. Instead of trying run from the flub, the Chevy manager monitoring social media was tweeting with the hashtag, #TechnologyAndStuff. This was 1:29 a.m. and Jamie Barbour was on it!
Before dawn, the U.S. marketing chief for Chevy was firing off emails to his social media, digital marketing and advertising teams so they could start to exploit the “technology and stuff” line.
By 7:30 a.m. a new voiceover was being recorded for an ad that would run that evening on an NBA game so it added “and stuff” to the script. The team quickly bought ad time on the late night comedy shows that would air that evening anticipating that the comics would likely fry them for the flub. They were determined to have the upper hand.
Before they were done exploiting what could have been a disaster, they had the Chevy pickups like the one the MVP received emblazoned with #TechnologyAndStuff as they took the drivers at a NASCAR event in Texas around the track before the race.
A flub turned into a coup: Advertising Age magazine estimates that Chevy got $5 million in free media exposure for their effort. Risky. Yes. Successful. Heck yes.
This is risking done well. Kudos to Dan Ammann and the innovative and resourceful Chevy team.
This is where you can find a video of the now infamous World Series presentation: