Poor United Airlines.

Spend millions of dollars to tell us that they’re the Friendly skies- but break one guitar, try to deny a claim- for several years, and it all goes bye-bye faster than a rocketship.

One week after Dave Carroll, a relatively unknown singer in a band called Sons of Maxwell, released a music video called “United breaks guitars” he’s had over 3.3 million views. It was all over twitter the very first day of release, and United was finally making apologies two days later.

Companies can’t afford to tick off customers anymore- because customers can fight back.

Taylor guitars took the cue from the video- and posted an info video to talk to guitar players about how to travel safely with their guitar, and offered to repair their competitors guitars, should this happen to you:

Of course, while United has spent literally millions to associate themselves with Gershwin, I’m pretty sure that for the next few years- Rhapsody in Blue won’t be the first thing many people think of when they think United.

In fact, the total absence of information on the United site- about this, or on a response from United on YouTube, instead- having Dave Carroll telling folks that United decided to pay up after the release of the video, show United just doesn’t get it.

When you search on their customer service site- it says it all:

Screenshot from United Site for United Breaks Guitars

Screenshot from United Site for United Breaks Guitars

This is not how to respond to 3 million plus views on YouTube.

So, remember- next time a customer calls with a complaint- think of it as an opportunity to create a good news story, ’cause the bad news one will hurt.