After the San Francisco Giants won their third World Series title in five years mostly on the arm of lefty Madison Bumgarner, it was time to present the pitcher with his MVP award. That’s when sponsor Chevrolet received much more than it could have bargained for when it agreed to back the presentation.
Rikk Wilde, Chevy’s sales and marketing regional zone manager – and a local Royals fan – was tasked with presenting the award. The opportunity itself was a reward for Wilde, who is a solid and well-respected performer for the car and truck giant.
Whether it was the pressure of the moment, standing next to the 6’5” pitcher, or emotions running on high after his Royals narrowly missed their first title in 29 years, it all seemed to get the best of Wilde. Apparently sweating, out of breath, staring at note cards, and a chorus of “ums” and uhs” scattered throughout, the awkward presentation was capped off with Wilde describing the new Chevy Colorado (a truck that had been recently recalled) as having features such as “technology and stuff.”
While some may have called it a disaster, Chevy rallied behind its employee after the 57-second stumble that lit up social media with hashtags such as #ChevyGuy and #TechnologyAndStuff while generating an estimated $2.4 million in media exposure.
So what did Chevy do so right in a presentation in front of millions of viewers that seemed to go so wrong? Simply these three things:
- Reward Effort: Instead of the customary CEO or senior executive, the company gave the spotlight to a regional employee known for doing his job well and respected within the company. Rewarding and recognizing hard work never goes out of style.
- Reinforce Support: After the gaffe, instead of firing or reprimanding Wilde, the company instead publicly came out in support of their stand-in spokesperson, standing behind their employee by recognizing that possibly nerves and excitement had played a part in the not-so-perfect presentation.
- Run with It: Realizing the amount of attention the presentation was receiving both online and in mainstream media, Chevy began using the #TechnologyAndStuff tag in its official advertising. Not only did it become an active participant in the conversation, but the move further drove home the point that it was backing its employee … “Like a Rock.”