There's an old saying in PR, "there is no such thing as bad PR, just spell my name correctly" I disagree. I've seen tons of people commenting on the #chevyguy hashtag about how it was great for Chevy and touting the number of impressions they received — much more than they would have otherwise. They did. And the argument is nonsense.
First, I feel for Rikk Wilde. Live TV is hard. In his case, he knew he was being shoehorned into a situation that wasn't natural. All anyone in that locker room cared about—and everyone watching at home—was the euphoria of winning the World Series. The joy of watching a group of people celebrate attaining a shared goal is awesome. To attempt to deliver a bunch of talking points about a truck in that situation was silly to start with. It was the equivalent of going to a friend's cocktail party and when the room reaches a crescendo when everyone is enjoying the same story, and interrupting to change the subject and talk about the features of a product at your work. He was doomed even if he was an elegant speaker.
The fact that he wasn't able to deliver the talking points about the truck's benefit was not the biggest mistake. The fact that Chevy even attempted to try was. There are far more effective ways they could demonstrate their support of Major League Baseball — spending the same amount of money. Engaging in a natural way that reaches people at a place when the message matters to them would be a good start.
I'm not a believer in "all PR is good PR." If people are joking about your brand… they're laughing at you, not with you. Chevy did the right thing this morning by jumping into the conversation and having some fun with the hashtag and flubbed line. It was the best of a bad situation. But that spike in impressions isn't going to sell a truck. In fact, it's not even going to get someone to think about buying a truck. It's getting people to laugh at a meme — one they will forget about by tomorrow.
I've talked about this in a previous blog post. Disruption isn't the thing in marketing. #chevyguy was disruptive. Figuring how to create a program that would allow that potential Chevy truck purchaser to interact with the brand at his or her pace, in a way that is real, that truly provided information, or help, or engagement, is the thing.