This is the first of a set of case studies in Social Media; watch out for the rest of the series.
Dave Caroll, a Canadian folk singer with the band Sons of Maxwell, was travelling by plane to Nebraska on a United flight and saw baggage handlers at Chicago throwing his guitar around. When he got to Nebraska and opened his luggage his guitar was broken. He tried for nine months to resolve the issue with United, to no effect. So he said he would create three videos and post them on YouTube. Were United scared, they did not seem so.
The first video has so far been viewed by over 5.6 million people.
The video was followed by one from Taylor guitars providing support to Dave Caroll.
According to this statement by Dave Caroll United did offer compensation after people started watching his video. But Caroll declined the compensation; he did not want to be bought off.
The second video of the trilogy has now been released and has been viewed by over 400K people (although to my taste the second is nothing like as good as the first).
Dave Caroll has a write up of his side of the story here.
The key point about this story is that power is shifting from the big battalions to the individual. However, the subtext is that the power is shifting particularly to people with the skill or humour to make the new platforms work for them.
By all accounts Dave Caroll is doing very in terms of bookings, United’s image has taken a hit, but the economy has been a bigger problem.
I guess United, and most other brands, have a better understanding now that they can’t just ignore people, especially musicians, artists, writers, comedians, and other people with talent.
Many thanks to Russ Meyer of Landor who was the first to bring it to my attention.