Marketing January 11, 2012 Last updated March 17th, 2012 1,856 Reads share

The World Waits For No One: The Story Of Dave Carroll, United Airlines And Taylor Guitars

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In a world where speed and agility are essential ingredients to success, many businesses are finding it hard to keep up with the expectations of their customers. However, a slow response can leave your business fatally exposed.

How can you keep up to date with what people are saying about your brand so you can take action as quickly as possible? Taking full advantage of positive feedback about your brand or minimizing the consequences of negative comments is now critical. Here is a great example:

The story of Dave Carroll, United Airlines and Taylor Guitars

Spring 2008 in Chicago’s airport a woman looked out of a United Airlines passenger window and announced astonishingly “they’re throwing guitars out there”. Dave Carroll and four band members on their way home to Canada were shocked to find that it was their guitars that were being handled so badly.


Later, upon opening his guitar case Dave discovered that his Taylor guitar was indeed broken. Consequently he got in contact with United who refused to acknowledge Dave’s claim. So frustrated with the outcome Dave decided to create a song about his experience with United and posted it on You Tube entitled “United breaks guitars”

What happened next?

Within 4 days the video had received 1 million views and not long afterwards the 2 million mark was reached. What were the consequences of this viral video to the parties involved?

  • Dave Carroll received masses of media attention and a product deal with a guitar case manufacturer.
  • Taylor, the guitar manufacturer mentioned in the video seized the opportunity of the moment and created and posted a video to You tube about how to best pack and travel with guitars. The result. A significant increase in  the number of visitors to their website.
  • However, the other party involved, United said absolutely nothing.

No statements to the press. No comments on blogs. No explanation on their website. United missed a huge opportunity to lessen the damage to its reputation caused by the video.

The lessons:

What are the ways you can avoid this situation, keep up to date with what people are saying about you and take action as soon as possible?

  1. Create a Google Alert to monitor your brandnames, trademarks and copywrites, clients, competitors and products
  2. Monitor industry related blogs and article sites (google blog, blog digger)
  3. Monitor twitter, social media sites and social networks (twitter search, social mention and Who’s Talking)
  4. Monitor Consumer Websites, Video Sites and Photo Sites (Flickr, You Tube)
  5. Keep abreast of Google News and Rip Off Report

In today’s world of real time marketing where breaking news, twitter feeds and social media updates rank high in the search engines, its not an option but a necessity to keep up to date with what people are saying about you. Are you?

Anne Perez

Anne Perez

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