Chevrolet averted a potential crisis this week thanks to some solid listening. And while it likely wasn’t a case of traditional brand-jacking, it could have been perceived that way.
“Boston Strong” has become a rallying cry for the home of the Red Sox in the aftermath of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing. So, when a Reddit user posted a photo
before Game 5 of the World Series of stadium placards in the stands spelling out “Silverado Strong,” people took exception.
Multiple sites labeled the move “tacky,” so it’s probably best that the St. Louis Cardinals and Major League Baseball decided to put the kibosh on it.
Prior to the promotion, MLB explained what would happen:
Leading into the top of the 3rd, Ozzie Smith will recognize Chevrolet’s commitment to growing youth baseball in a video played on the scoreboard. He will prompt fans in attendance to hold up placards in front of them, which will unveil an image of the words “Silverado Strong,” Chevrolet’s theme for the launch of the all-new 2014 Silverado, with the Chevrolet and MLB silhouetted batter logos on either side.
A Chevy spokesman explained the situation to USA Today
“Earlier this year Chevrolet launched the all-new 2014 Silverado,” said Chevrolet spokesman Michael Albando. “The launch is supported by the campaign, ‘Strong,’ which celebrates the strength of hardworking, honest and dependable men and women. Chevy has carried this theme throughout the 2013 MLB Playoffs and the World Series.
“Chevrolet had planned to continue the campaign tonight through an interactive in-stadium promotion. However, following today’s rehearsal we realized there was the possibility that we may offend some of the very fans we were trying to honor, for that reason Chevrolet and MLB decided to cancel the promotion.”
A Car and Driver article
from earlier this month details the “Strong” campaign, which shows that any association with “Boston Strong” would be purely coincidental.
Still—a great example of how a strong listening program can help a brand avoid a PR crisis.