I don’t know if you ever saw this B of A video that went viral back at the end of 2006. While it’s old news now, there are some reminders that it leaves us when talking about social media marketing.
The video featured 2 Bank Of America executives at a company conference performing their rendition of U2’s “One” with their own lyrics including lines like “Integration has never had us feeling so good/and we’ll make lots of money,” and “We’ve got Bank One on the run, what’s in your wallet, it’s not Capital One.”
Somehow, video of the performance leaked onto YouTube. And that’s where the real fun began.
Within a week, the video had over 100,000 views. And the comments left by viewers were not necessarily glowing reviews:
“It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion” wrote one viewer.
The whole ordeal got national coverage including a great podcast moment from National Public Radio.
“It probably seemed like a good idea the time, these things usually do,” begins the NPR story.
Universal Music Group, the copyright owner of the song, posted a cease and desist letter directed at Bank of America in the comments section of Stereogum, one of the blogs that posted the video.
Even comedian David Cross did a parody of their video. Which had you not seen the original, you would assume was a bit of his on its own.
It seems to have reinforced a stereotype of corporate bankers, in that they only care about making money. In this case, even when they rolled up their shirt sleeves to have fun, they are still keeping their shirtsleeves down and still wearing neckties and still singing about money and banking.
What are some social media marketing lessons we can learn from this?
1. Anything (including your internal meetings) can end up on the Internet.
2. Once it’s out there, the control is in the hands of your audience.
3. Once it’s out there, it can spread fast across the Internet and even into the mainstream media.
4. Long after the initial posting, the content and comments remain. Indefinitely actually. There are viewer comments posted even as recent as this week in response to the video.
5. Have a blogging policy in place for your employees. Given this was an internal meeting, it seems most likely it would have been an employee that posted the content.
6. Regularly conduct monitoring for social mention of your brand name. And be ready to respond. Although honestly, I don’t know in this situation a whole lot that B of A could have said that could have turned this into a positive. I do know that B of A has a social media marketing program in place now, and is likely monitoring as well. They may even respond to this post, and I welcome their response. If so, I’d be particularly interested to hear what they learned from this social media incident.
I guess at the end of the day, the question is, what’s the cumulative impact on the brand. Given all that’s gone in the banking industry in recent months, this is probably just a blip on the radar.