Friday, July 10, 2009

How to succeed in viral advertising while getting your sweet, sweet revenge

There seem to be three things you need to succeed in the viral world:

1. An idea everyone can relate to
2. The talent to make it interesting
3. The cojones to put yourself out there

Halifax band Sons of Maxwell has all three. I had never even heard of these guys (well, "guy and his brother", anyway...) But yesterday, all of a sudden, people started sending me this YouTube link:

I don't get the sombreros, but it's funny and accessible stuff. As of this writing, it has 1,325,267 views. Yowza!

The backstory is that singer Dave Carroll took a United Airlines flight to a gig last spring, only to find on arrival that his $3,500 custom-made guitar had been trashed by the airline.

According to the Globe and Mail, after 15 years of international anonymity, Sons of Maxwell are now getting offers to interview and play on CBS and CNN.

Bad news for United's brand: A Google News search for "United Airlines" brought up 381 international articles on the video as the top hit.

The airline's response is somewhat lost in the rush to join in on hating luggage throwers and customer service reps: according to local news in Nova Scotia, United was "good-natured" about the whole thing and "wanted to use it as a textbook case on how to handle customer complaints in the future."

I just hope Sons of Maxwell makes the most of this sudden shot to funny Internet fame. Maybe they could go on tour with The Lonely Island...

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