I love it when my parents are in town!  They come to visit their only grandson at least once a month all the way from Colorado (I’m in California).  They cook, clean and entertain!  THANKS MOM AND DAD! What does that have to do with marketing, you may ask?  My Dad is a news junkie!  He trolls all the internet news sources, blogs and forums every chance he gets-there are many times when we have to say “Dad, step AWAY from the laptop!”  But for all his efforts, there is a payoff!  He finds the stories that I am too busy working to find and in this case, it was well worth it!

He called us all over to his computer to show us a YouTube video called “United Breaks Guitars“.  It was a RIOT!  I sat and watched the video and could barely wait til it was over to get in front of my computer and praise Dave Carroll for his BRILLIANT use of social media to share his story!  When you check out his MySpace page, he only has 364 friends, and the last comment (prior to July 8th, when the story broke) was one on March 18th and prior to that it was December.  His Facebook fan page only had 500 fans prior to today (he has added 100 people in 24 hours).  He has an amazing 700 plus followers on Twitter, and he just started tweeting yesterday!  Needless to say, he wasn’t a huge success by music industry standards!  Yes, he’s won awards, but even his own bio states “Dave Carroll is one of the most under rated songwriters in the country”. – Paul Kennedy, CCMA Radio Personality Of The Year

Fast forward to today!  My dad watched the YouTube video this afternoon and there were 532,000 views, but by 6.30 pm pacific time, there were already close to 720,000!  Twelve Thousand of those viewers left a comment and his other videos on YouTube are getting more exposure too!

Do a search for “United” and Dave Carrolls video and story is number three!

United Airlines vs. Dave Carroll
United Airlines vs. Dave Carroll

Stories about Dave’s plight to gain restitution for a $3500 broken Taylor guitar are taking over the news wires.  The mishandled guitar broke back in the spring of 2008 and Dave followed all the channels to fix the problem.   After months of trying to get anyone at United to take responsibility for the damages, he promised the last person he spoke with that he was going to write a song about his experience.  I bet that United airlines wishes that Ms. Irlweg (or any of the other dozen of folks Dave spoke to) had resolved the issue!

News sources from all around the world are asking him to sing his song, from CNN to CBS from USA Today (it made the first page on their website) to Reuters to AOL Finance and everything in between has run the story!

United’s Twitter page is on fire with “I’m sorry” for poor customer service, but I’m sure that is little more than a band aid on the situation.

The exposure has done more for Carroll’s career than he ever would have been able to do on his own!


You just have to have the right message!


  • Quick update: I wanted to keep an eye on how things are going for Dave so I just checked his social media pages to see how things are progressing!
    The numbers provided are comparing stats from 7 pm on 7.9.09 and 9.30 am on 7.10.09. They are amazing!
    Dave’s Twitter-from 700 to 1,059
    Facebook-from 500 to 615
    MySpace-remains the same, but he does have a few more comments in there
    United’s Twitter-they have gained 1000 followers-seems people want to know what United Airlines is doing to make this situation right

    It’s amazing how quickly things can explode! Happy viral marketing everyone!

  • Hi Kelly!
    I was about to blog on this topic and found you beat me to it. 🙂 (that’s how much it’s OUT THERE –even busy me found it!) –Awesome blog story Kel!

    My add is that this represents a new “Customer Service Web Vigilantes” (or “Web-ilantes”)! It should keep Co’s on their toes! As it also gives creative artists a venue for making a name for themselves with authentic material… (Carroll also has a website sonsofmaxwell.com, for the first of the trilogy of songs depicting the demise of his guitar.)

  • It is out there EVERYWHERE! Thanks for the add Pamela! Very true! As I noted, people are now keeping a close eye on how United is addressing the situation! Dave followed their protocol to a T and still didn’t get ANY customer service!

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