Friday Buzz: When Emotions Get the Best of Us

Lessons in messaging from an association exec's poorly phrased criticism of an industry disrupter. Also: how Chevy turned a major gaffe into a minor victory.

The taxi industry has plenty of reason to be upset about the rise of the upstart Uber—for one thing, it’s eating into the industry’s long-held market.

But that doesn’t mean Uber is a terrorist group, as one association executive recently suggested.

In comments during a Philadelphia Parking Authority board meeting earlier this week, Pennsylvania Taxi Association General Manager Alex Friedman made that comparison—and drew negative attention from media outlets, including Vox, Business Insider, and VentureBeat.

“I try to equate this illegal operation of UberX as a terroristic act like ISIS invading the Middle East,” Friedman said in his comments. “It is exactly the same menace.”

It’s a pretty extreme comparison. But Friedman has made his point in more eloquent ways in the past.

“Nobody is shutting the door to innovation. Nobody suggests establishing unfair barriers to competition,” he wrote in a PennLive op-ed in September. “But lawmakers and regulators need to ensure that these new companies play by the rules and that they follow the law, for the protection of customers and anyone else traveling our roads and streets.”

Nonetheless, it’s a reminder that when controversial issues are being discussed with passion, it’s easy to step over the line into territory that you may not want to find yourself in.

Lemonade From Lemons

The World Series was a great opportunity for Chevrolet to promote itself when it awarded this year’s series MVP, San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, with a new truck in honor of his big win.

It didn’t work out that way, though. In an awkward moment, company regional zone manager Rikk Wilde, who was in charge of handing out the prize, got nervous and stumbled over his lines.

“It combines class-winning and -leading, um, you know, technology and stuff,” he said of the truck.

Chevy’s social media team made the most of it, however, by turning the now-infamous line into a hashtag. The company’s advertising team even made a print ad out of the inarticulate moment.

The lesson here: Embrace your failures, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. It helped Chevy turn an event fail into a funny moment. (ht @ChevyTrucks)

Other notable Links

Make sure the words you use matter. VolunteerMatch has some tips.

Instagram just launched video ads, and TechCrunch can show you what they look like.

Velvet Chainsaw Consulting’s Jeff Hurt wants you to know about educational trends worth watching.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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