David Caroll has a new song, and United Airlines has a huge headache.
The airline became the reluctant promoter of a protest song when it broke –indeed smashed– Dave Carroll’s guitar. I won’t go into the story (read it here) but suffice to say United staff gave him the cold shoulder that many companies have gotten away with for two long.
But they didn’t factor in the power of music, a dissatisfied customer’s social media footprint, and a country song on YouTube.
“United breaks guitars,” croons Carroll, and those three words (plus a very funny video re-enactment on the tarmac) have the potential to undo all United’s great PR. A Taylor acoustic guitar could be replaced for about $3,500. A company’s reputation will cost hundred’s of times that figure.
But unlike other unhappy endings of PR snafu’s, I like the twist here. Having written two songs, Mr. Carroll has given United an opportunity to influence the outcome of the third.
Go for it United! You can turn this trilogy into a raving sensation, not just on YouTube, but as a case study that proves organizations could listen — even if they have to be dragged into the conversation kicking and screaming.