Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Smith’

Tony explains Social Media

February 24, 2010 1 comment

“Marriage, or any relationship for that matter, is a give and a take”. Zeitgeist has been prone to quoting various great men in its articles, from Horace to Obama. Tony Soprano makes a good point however. The quotation applies to the world of social media too. In fact, late last year, eConsultancy posted ‘The Tony Soprano guide to social media’. Mr. Soprano has a number of pithy insights that can be applied to the management of the social media sphere as easily as to that of the criminal underworld. Not that Zeitgeist is making a comparison between the two.

As eConsultancy says, “social media is not about sales: it’s about service. The sales that arise from social optimisation are a tangible bonus.” This is why some brands have a hard time knowing how to engage with social media. Is it about a quick ROI or a more long-term brand-building exercise, or both? “A wrong decision is better than indecision” is one of Tony’s quotations. Is that always the case though? If you whack some guy who you think is a rat and then turns out not to be, surely that is a bad turn of events? Last year, Toyota ran a competition for their Yaris model to create a short film with Saatchi & Saatchi. The competition was not terribly popular. Faced with the prospect of no entries, the agency emailed a production house asking for submissions, which obviously skewed the results. The result was awful.

Honda also had a social media fail last year when it set up a page on Facebook for a new model. Users were not very impressed with the car but then one person commented that they would “get this car in a heartbeat”. Unfortunately, he turned out to be a manager of product planning for Toyota… More recently, Vodafone’s Twitter account suffered from an offensive post by an employee. Bad as this was, the company tried to make amends by replying publicly to every single one their followers. eConsultancy noted, “Hundreds of retweets ensured that the company’s speedy deletion of the tweet was a redundant exercise”. Yet, another article talks about the opportunities such a fracas might now present.

In some cases of course, social media can save a brand. As noted already by Zeitgeist, cult film director Kevin Smith recently clashed with Southwest Airlines. Mr. Smith had booked two seats on a flight, but his plans changed and he joined the standby list for another flight. With only one seat, Smith’s gourmand-like person was apparently enough of a problem / eyesore to warrant the captain of the flight to ask him to disembark. The director voiced his outrage on Twitter, and was promptly apologised to by the airline’s Twitter account, offering him $100. Smith continued to rant, asking the airline to provide a seat for him on a talk show, as clearly the man thought he had not yet lost enough pride. A high proportion of followers interestingly sided with the airline, evincing that singular advocacy, albeit powerful, will not always win. Southwest though they may now have set a precedent (financial at least), for complaints of a rotund nature.

“Do we need to talk in private?” Tony suggests. Not all conversations between company and consumer can be solved in the open forum of social media. It is not for every brand, and even if it is compatible, you might still get burned.

Silent Bob makes some noise

February 16, 2010 1 comment

Kevin Smith on South West Air

Previous editions of Zeitgeist have touched on how brands should deal with bad news and what happens when brand ambassadors go bad.

The recent hullabaloo regarding film director Kevin Smith and Southwest Airlines provides an opportunity to examine what happens when a celebrity suddenly starts badmouthing a brand following a bad experience.

The backstory is that Smith, who had originally purchased two seats to travel to from Oakland to Burbank, changed his travel plans and joined the standby list for a new flight.

Having boarded the new flight, the captain allegedly approached and told him he was considered a safety risk due to his size and he would have to leave the plane.

Clearly, there isn’t an easy way to tell someone they have to get off the plane because they are too fat. Nor would we imagine is it a pleasant experience to be told that you have been judged as being too big to fly, particularly in front of other passengers of acceptable proportions and even more so when you are a semi-famous face.

Everyone knows that you should never send an email in anger or text when drunk but the Clerks and Dogma director couldn’t resist and immediately began tweeting his fury from the airport terminal. His 1.4m followers were soon treated to a flurry of further tweets expressing his indignation including…

Dear @SouthwestAir – I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?

Wanna tell me I’m too wide for the sky? Totally cool. But fair warning, folks: IF YOU LOOK LIKE ME, YOU MAY BE EJECTED FROM @SOUTHWESTAIR.

Dear @SouthwestAir, I’m on another one of your planes, safely seated & buckled-in again, waiting to be dragged off in front of the normies.

Southwest Airlines didn’t dally and responded with a tweet of their own apologising to Smith for the experience, offering him $100 while also reiterating their policy on their website.

Smith wasn’t placated and continued to express his unhappiness, challenging Southwest to bring a seat onto a talk show so he could demonstrate how he could fit in it without compromising the safety or comfort of other passengers.

Inevitably, such an emotional and personal subject drew polarising comments from other bloggers ranging from outrage that airlines don’t have special seats to accommodate larger fliers to outrage that smaller flyers should be squashed by more corpulent passengers.

In the end a poll on CNN showed that 58% of people sided with the latter group and Smith blogged that he wanted to let the matter die.

As the dust settles, Southwest appear to have ridden the storm while setting out their position while Smith is conveniently back in the headlines a couple of weeks before the release of Cop Out.