Chrysler, Storytelling, and Social Media Responses

You're Doing it Wrong - The Anti-Social MediaEverything you share on social media, whether that content is your own or produced by someone else, tells your story.

Last week was very busy for me with my professional events, and at every single one of them my peers and colleagues spoke about Chrysler. I haven’t heard anyone talk about Chrysler this much in my entire lifetime. This even includes after the auto-bailouts and listening to Love Shack on repeat for hours.

So, either something is very right or very wrong.  I’d take a bet towards wrong because people love talking about disaster more than positive things.

So cut to Saturday night around 9:20, when I saw a friend retweet this message from Chrysler:

Chrysler - Somebody got it right

I, feeling particularly anti-social media that night, replied.

TheAntiMedia - @Chrysler Somebody took your side. Big f*#%in’ deal.

Within a few minutes, I surprisingly got this reply.

Chrysler - @TheAntiMedia You missed the point. She’s not taking our side. She’s reporting the greater context. One f-bomb didn’t take down an agency.

I was amazed that I actually got a reply out of Chrysler at 9:30 pm on a Saturday. What were they doing, trying to tell their story to the world on a Saturday night when most normal people are only using Twitter to announce how much fun they’re having? Were they just asking for trouble from punks like me?

Looking back at this brief exchange, it seems surreal. I understand Chyrsler monitoring Twitter 24/7 right now because of the incident, but I don’t buy the response I got. They wouldn’t have shared that story from Forbes if it didn’t support the story they want to tell. I still don’t get why they responded to a user with a name The Anti-Media and whose avatar is a cartoon. That’s just feeding the troll.

Still, the story Chrysler is telling is focused on defense. It bears witness to their story alone, a story of a mistake, someone getting fired, and an agency losing its contract. There is nothing positive for people to take away or to make them feel like Chrysler has learned from its mistake.

We all have many stories to tell. The trouble is choosing the right one to tell, the  right time to tell it,  and the right way to share it.

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15 Responses to “Chrysler, Storytelling, and Social Media Responses”

  1. MKR March 14, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Chrysler’s story: “We’re still here guys! …guys? Oh god so alone”

    Wait, does Chrysler have any other brands? I forget.

    • Jay March 14, 2011 at 11:26 am #

      Me too. My Dad had a Chrysler for a while. It was bigger than my first apartment.

      • MKR March 14, 2011 at 11:31 am #

        My family had an old Chrysler Reliant when I was growing up. It only stayed running because the retired mechanic across the street from us took it on as a project.

        He moved out of that neighborhood about 10 years before we did, and that was about 10 years (and two cars) ago. I didn’t even know Chrysler still existed until the bailout thing came up.

  2. John Morrow March 14, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Twitter is one of those dangerous zones with the spontaneity of a drunken quip and the permanence of an inscription on the pyramids. Two thousand years from now, people will be able to read whatever dumbass crap we thought was funny at 04:30 on a Sunday.

    PS - for someone who was late due to grammar worries, the dangling second last paragraph is delicious irony. ;)

    • Jay March 14, 2011 at 10:32 am #

      I didn’t say I’d do a good job of fixing the grammar. ;)

      I should start treating all my tweets like they belong in pyramids. My eternal ego needs more inflation online.

      • John Morrow March 14, 2011 at 10:51 am #

        You should also start them with “So it shall be, by the name of Osiris…”

        Adds gravitas.

  3. John Lane March 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    “There is nothing positive for people to take away or to make them feel like Chrysler has learned from its mistake.” I couldn’t agree more.

    One outward sign that they’ve learned something would be to come out with the opposite of your standard social media disclaimer on their Twitter account: “these comments are from an actual person at Chrysler who lives and dies with the company… who truly believes what we’re all about… and their views are specifically reflective of the company.” Let us know you own who you are. And taking control of the slightest stream (yes, I just called Twitter slight) means you’re focused on the minutiae, the details, of what “we’re Chrysler and we’re from Detroit” means. Use it as a sign that you made a mistake but understand you have to own all parts of your story, all the time.

    Anyhow… nice post. Thanks for starting the conversation.


    • Jay March 15, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

      I should claim all my Twitter account like that. It would be hardcore.

  4. Maggie March 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    WOW I can’t believe Chrysler posted a link to the Forbes article. That just seems so “told you so!” Not really helping their case at all.

    Also, interesting what their Twitter bio now reads: “Ed Garsten, Mike Driehorst, and David Elshoff of Chrysler present the Official Chrysler Twitter channel.”

    • Jay March 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

      Yeah, that sentiment is exactly what i thought too.

  5. Jerome Pineau March 15, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    This is just a problem of “get over your big bad self” and it look, from the article, as if they just used this as an opportunity to whack the agency anyway - Clearly a company using Eminem as an advertising asset can’t be too concerned about using the F word :)

    It would probably have been a lot wiser to use humor in addressing this but, if I recall, GM owns Chrysler don’t they? I rest my case :)

    • Jay March 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

      I use Eminem for all of my branding efforts. That’s why I’m a household name.

  6. Morgan March 15, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Chrysler needs to move on, find a better way of dealing with it, and let this tweet die already.