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Posted on 11/02/2011 by Kristie VanAuken
We unwittingly unleashed a firestorm last week.
So, here’s how the whole thing came down. We get word from LeBron James’ advance team that he has a personal flight from Akron-Canton Airport. Because he is a celebrity and a superstar, we wanted to welcome him. Akron is his hometown after all. So, CAK is his hometown airport. We feature all sorts of celebs on our Facebook wall because our fans find them interesting (and so do we!).
LeBron arrived in a black hoodie; he clearly wanted to remain under the radar which is hard because he is like 6’5”. He was super nice to our employees (posing for photos and interacting in a cool way) and he was largely able to go on his way without much huh-la-bah-loo. I was thrilled to get my photo taken with him!
So, here’s where the fire and brimstone comes in. We posted the photo of LeBron and me on our Facebook wall with this post:
“Hometown hero LeBron James flew through CAK this morning. He was great to our employees. Thanks for flying CAK, LeBron!”
I am almost afraid to utter the words again on this blog post. Why? Because within 30 minutes we got 85 vehement posts from angry and betrayed folks who also happen to be fans of CAK on Facebook. In all fairness, the post also received 66 “likes” in the same amount of time. The betrayed were very, very prolific and very mad about our post. They didn’t like the use of the word “hero” or the word… LeBron.
We had a dilemma on our hands. Our Facebook wall, by design, is about listening, spreading happiness, and sending CAK love to our Customers. Needless to say, there was no love nor happiness in the comments.
So, after teeth gnashing and fingernail biting, we decided to remove the post. We had tapped into too much negative energy. Our fans weren’t ready for a feel good LeBron James story. So, after we pulled the original post, we offered up a mea culpa (while maintaining our original intention to call out how nice LeBron was while here…even on his personal time).
Well, we received another 60+ posts from Fans who thought we should have stuck to our guns with the original post! In the end, I feel like we did the right thing. The bad mojo was escalating so quickly that we needed to pull the plug.
What do you think? Would you have made the same call?
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing & Communications Officer