Financial Services


He wasn’t the victim of a surreptitious YouTube video, or caught unaware. Chevy marketing exec Rikk Wilde was giving a presentation following the final 2014 game of America’s pastime. And that’s the moment Mr. Wilde fumbled his way through an awards presentation speech on national television.

Twitter was quick to develop the “#ChevyGuy” hashtag after the Chevy exec struggled to read a short promotion about the Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck before presenting the keys to World Series MVP winner Madison Bumgarner. Wilde’s brief speech included 7 “uhs” and 4 “ums.” This was accomplished with the help of very visible note cards.

There are undoubtedly many PR flaks gleefully using this as an example of the importance of media coaching. And while this was embarrassing for Mr. Wilde, was it really a terrible moment for Chevy?

Based on the car marketing landscape, it seems that Chevy may not suffer to the extent #ChevyGuy may indicate.

Recently, other car brands have paid pretty good money for some pretty bad marketing.

During the Oscars this past February, Cadillac aired a poolside ad featuring actor Neal McDonough. The ad depicts McDonough strutting around a pool while discussing his wealth. Fox Business News contributor Jonathan Hoenig, a founding member of the Capitalistpig hedge fund, praised “Poolside” as a “tremendous” celebration of profit-seeking . But many reviews pegged the ad as tasteless and weird. Ford even devised a parody ad .

Lincoln presumably spent big bucks to secure resurgent actor Matthew McConaughey earlier this year for a series of TV ads. A recent bit features a True Detective-esque Matthew McConaughey driving a Lincoln MKC. Mr. McConaughey starts the ad with the unforgettable line “sometimes you got to go back to actually move forward,” and then launches into several platitudes.

The Lincoln ad has already been spoofed by Ellen DeGeneres , on SNL by actor Jim Carrey, and by a Brooklyn-based comedian. There’s also a slew of amateur videos, and of course, South Park joined the fray.

Watching the #ChevyGuy debacle unfold, it’s difficult not to emphathize with someone who was likely very nervous, lacked media coaching, and for all his terrible public speaking attributes, came across as earnest.

In a world of celebrities hawking vehicles and spouting bizarre bromides, perhaps regional managers will appeal to Chevy consumers.

And maybe Chevrolet could splurge on just a bit of media coaching.

– Bill Smith

thought leadership

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