When United Airlines broke his acoustic guitar Canadian singer Dave Carroll sought compensation – the baggage handlers had been throwing guitars about. United refused to pay compensation so Dave Carroll recorded United Breaks Guitars and posted it on You Tube
As Dave Carroll explains “In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn�t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say �no� to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed on-line by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise.”
The company has lost 10per cent of its share value – $180million after the You Tube recording was posted. It was posted on 5 July 2009 and as I write this it has had 3,800,000+ views!
Viral marketing works both ways!
It is a good story and clearly very viral – however, United Airlines has some bigger underlying problems which have been pushing down it's share price since 1st July – see for example the reports on the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation website
For more on the social marketing aspects see Search Engine Marketing and Social Media