If you turned off the recent final game of the World Series after the last out, you may have missed the post-game ceremonies where sponsor Chevrolet's executive Rikk Wilde awarded Giants' Madison Bumgarner, the series MVP, a Chevrolet Colorado truck for his winning performance.
But on social media the event was replayed again and again, and on YouTube, it may live forever. Because while on social media events are trending and temporal, on YouTube they can live a long-tail effect lifetime can be played out over time. This can be both good and bad for brands.
#ChevyGuy: A YouTube Meme is Born
We've seen numerous event sponsors give boring speeches before, but this time it was different. It was painful to watch. The heavy-set Mr. Wilde, knowing the entire sports world was watching, forgot his lines and was breathing heavily and nervously. He ended up saying that the Chevrolet Colorado truck "combines class winning and leading, um, you know, technology and stuff."
Mr. Wilde's hilarious "oops" moment has been reposted to dozens of YouTube accounts and viewed at least 2.2 million total times on YouTube. Here's a poor bootleg YouTube version of the TV moment posted on YouTube:
Wilde was living a common fear that many people have of public speaking - that they will forget what they're going to say and embarrass themselves.
On first take, "leading, um, you know, technology and stuff," was at best not a good thing to say. At worst it was a PR crisis. In other eras, Wilde might even worry about being fired. But not today. In today's social media-crazed world, Wilde is hero of authenticity. And while we may make fun of him, anyone who's ever stood up in front of a group of people can sympathize. And major emotions like fear, sympathy, humor are great for getting views on YouTube. This slip-up has a potentially enormous upside for suddenly-humanized brand like Chevy.
How Chevrolet Could Benefit from This Awkward Publicity
Wilde is now the inadvertent face of Chevrolet. In fact, Chevrolet should put Wilde front and center in as many events as possible - because instead of zoning out, people will watch closely just to see if he gets nervous again - it creates great tension in an sponsorship moment that we have been conditioned to ignore. Wilde has become an instant celebrity when he could have been forgotten along with so many other boring executive statements.
The #ChevyGuy Parodies Have Already Begun
Social media went crazy with comments and parodies about #ChevyGuy and #TechnologyAndStuff, but in fact it was a video event, so YouTube of course became a central repository for much of this traffic. Here are some videos that parodied the ceremony. Here's one of Chris Farley as Rikk Wilde:
Baseball fan George Macris and his brother shot this silly parody with his phone (and got 7,000 views):
"BaltoBrony" made this parody using "My Little Pony":
Mike Davenport of the Louisville Chevrolet dealership got on the bandwagon the next day with his Chevy Colorado walk-around "2015 Colorado with all that technology and stuff":
The ClassicChevySugarLand dealership did this "Chevy Guy 2014 World Series MVP Parody":
Jim Feeley remade a Chevy Colorado commercial with #ChevyGuy audio:
#ChevyGuy & #TechnologyAndStuff Videos Have Millions of Views
Our Octoly Suite360 research shows that at least several dozen #ChevyGuy and #TechnologyAndStuff videos received more than 2.2 million views (one version in particular had more than 1 million views). And we found that Chevrolet Colorado has received 22 million views from fan-posted videos all-time on YouTube before last week. So it has received an additional 10% additional promotion on YouTube, for free, in the last week.
To their credit, Chevrolet was undaunted by the sillyness and saw the opportunity. They quickly picked up the #TechnologyAndStuff gauntlet and ran with it with this tweet:
— Chevy Trucks (@ChevyTrucks) October 30, 2014
And Chevy started using the hastag #TechnologyAndStuff on the title and descriptions of their videos, even if the videos weren't related to the Colorado or the World Series.
From a publicity standpoint, Wilde's gaffe couldn't have worked out better for the company. Instead of provoking sighing indifference from millions of viewers by forcing an uninspired plug into the most triumphant moment of Madison Bumgarner's sporting career, "Chevy guy's" vulnerable performance became as much of a trending topic as the Giants' victory.
So all this attention, which might have been a negative, has turned into a big positive for the Chevrolet brand. Unfortunately, since the broadcast was copyrighted material, Major League Baseball (or FOX Sports) served some takedown notices on videos like these posted by the YouTube community. But the most popular of these videos was apparently reinstated after having been taken down. Perhaps Chevrolet leaned on Major League Baseball and FOX to not do takedowns on this video. In fact, the more views, the merrier - this increases Chevy brand recognition for free in a fun and authentic way.
These videos present Chevrolet with several great opportunities, one of which they are still missing out on. Most of these community-uploaded videos are "monetized," meaning that the individual channel owner, or perhaps the copyright holder if they've claimed the video, is allowing pre-roll (TrueView In-Stream) ads to show up at the start of the video. In viewing several of these videos, we at Octoly found that Acura was savvy enough to buy the pre-rolls on many of these videos. But in fact, the greatest opportunity is for Chevrolet to buy these pre-rolls and talk about #TechnologyAndStuff. A rapid-response ad such as this would have a very high conversion rate, because it is extremely contextual to the content of the video.
Go get 'em #ChevyGuy!