United Airlines Breaks Guy’s Guitar

This is pretty funny: a guy gets revenge on a corporation by making a youtube video that goes viral (if it gets to me, it’s viral). Sent to me by a friend.

The story: Dave Carroll’s guitar gets broken on United Airlines plane, and United Airlines won’t take responsibility. They pass the blame around for a year, and he can’t get it fixed. He and his band makes the video about it – pretty funny. A little funnier for being delivered deadpan, still funnier for being by what appear to be a really average, normal band, and funnier still for mentioning the person they’re pissed off with by name. In typeface, on screen. If this gets big enough, she could get a book deal.

What’s a little too funny is that this video – as explained on the band’s website – is but the first of three video responses. From the same website:

“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 online by anyone in the world.”

Who threatens that? In the heat of an argument have you ever vowed to get even three times? I had somebody once yell “Damn you a thousand times!” at me, but it was unusual. Think about it. I’m not suggesting that the story isn’t true. But I’m cynical enough to imagine that, one night during some discussion about the broken-guitar situation, he and his friends made up a funny song about it, dug it, and then figured out how to best use it for marketing the band. And somebody suggests making it a triptych. A trilogy. Dave calls the airline the next day and threatens to “write and produce three songs about my experience” and the rest is, well, this.

I’m also not saying they’ve done anything wrong. It’s a good idea. But it’s worth noticing that the band has successfully manipulated the viral vid phenomenon. It makes me think that the great ads of the near future will be the ones that we choose to pass around. Nike and Coke will shortly figure this out, and they’ll spend crazy amounts of money trying to make viral videos. It’ll be annoying.

But there might be real money in it for whoever can tap that mythical internet advertising dollar, and this may be what it’ll look like. In the meantime, there’s notoriety for the pioneers. This guy and his band, a pretty small time Nova Scotia New Country act, just improved their standards of living, I’m sure. Whatever kind of gigs they were getting, they just got more of them.

Plus, they got their message out, and I am down with that: I hereby boycott United, those guitar wrecking motherfuckers! United sucks! Boo!

(Condolences to Ms Irlweg. Try and make some money off all of this.)

And It Continues…



3 Responses to “United Airlines Breaks Guy’s Guitar”

  1. 1 Web Digger July 17, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Mrs. Marianne Irlweg just upheld policy. The policy is hypocracy and designed to wear the customer down and beat the customer into attrition. There is something wrong with people who earn their livelihood from inflicting these sort of policies in the name of their bosses. Since when is a complete lack of responsibility down the line is justification for any crime

  2. 3 Allison August 3, 2009 at 6:04 am

    I believe Dave just as he told the story. He says they made wild exaggerations in the video but every word of the lyrics is true. He strikes me as an upfront guy.

    I think the reason he promised 3 songs right off the bat was because the story is too complicated to be covered in a single song. As a songwriter he is well aware of how much (or how little) can be covered. And if you look at all his other videos, you’ll see they are just another day’s work to him.

    That’s why Chris at Curve Productions was happy to do the video pro bono. He said Dave was such a sweet guy who had always been so good to them over the years.

    You’ll see in the next video more of the back-and-forth between Ms. Irlweg and him, which will shed a little more light on it.

    I like the way you write, btw.

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