Archive for August 21st, 2009

Bike riding mom turns drive-in policy around with Twitter

August 21, 2009

First, thanks to Doug Walton for pointing me at this story. I’m sure that Burgerville employee who told the mom on a bike  that should couldn’t use up the drive-in window had no idea her story would end up in USA Today. She rolled up on her bike in bike-friendly Portland, OR and was told no go. As she rode away she tweeted her unhappiness with this strange policy. It was not difficult for the USA Today reporter to find the irony in a chain that prides itself (and invests heavily) in eco-friendliness to have such a policy. It is afterall a big part of their website.

The Burgerville folks may have their head in green, but not in the sand like United Airlines (see post just before this one) so quickly apologized and either changed the highly questionable policy or communicated to their drive-in window staff to not turn mothers with four cheeseburger orders away at the window.

But, for everybody in business, the real question is obvious. What bonehead, lawyer-driven policy do we have that will be tweeted and end up in USA Today? Or even more real, what careless decision or action might be taken by one of our young, inexperienced staff that will end us up being written about in about a hundred crisis communication blogs? If you are in Public Affairs, marketing or any form of communications for almost any company these days–send this blog to your CEO or just send her a link to the USA Today article and ask: what about us?

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Dave Carroll back with more music for United Airlines

August 21, 2009

I just don’t get it. After getting something like 4 million visits on YouTube for his entertaining complaint music video, Canadian musician Dave Carroll apparently is still ticked off at United. I just can’t believe they aren’t bright enough over there to give the guy the $1200 bucks he is asking for and get over this nightmare. Because now he is out with another even more clever and entertaining music video attacking United. Hey, the guy is an entertainer. He knows what his fifteen minutes of fame is worth. Why not milk it?

Now, if it turns out that United has played kissy face with him and he turned around and did this to them anyway, it will most likely blow up in his face. Watch out, Mr. Carroll. Your own self-interest, promotional instincts, pity-party or just plain greed may over take you and turn all the fame, sympathy and shared outrage against you.

But, for goodness sake United, make a dad-gummed music video saying, “Please Mr. Carroll, accept our apologies and this monstrous check,” and do it now before Carroll’s music videos top the Billboard charts. Hmm, do they still have those charts?

Whole Foods and the dangers/opportunities of controversial stands

August 21, 2009

This world can be a scary place for people who dare to express political opinions. I certainly found it out when I ran for state office five years ago. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods found it out as well when he offered his opinion on health care reform. The brouhaha goes on. Crisis communication consultant Gerard Braud does a great job of analyzing this situation–particularly when he calls “bull” on Whole Foods media relations folks trying gamely to say that their CEO was speaking for himself as a citizen and not representing the company. Yeah, right.