Friday, November 13, 2009

UNITED BREAKS GUITARS Reaches Over 6 Million YouTube Views

Many people interested in public relations have been following the UNITED BREAKS GUITARS story which first unfolded four months ago when Dave Carroll, a solo singer-song- and member of the then relatively unknown group, Sons of Maxwell, uploaded his song UNITED BREAKS GUITARS to YouTube, describing his on-going, year-long saga with United Airlines which refused to compensate him for the $1,200 damage it inflicted on his Taylor guitar worth $3,200, The song, UNITED BREAKS GUITARS, instantly garnered attention on YouTube, going viral on the Internet to the tune of over 6 million views between July 6th 2009 when it was first uploaded, until today November 13, 2009, where it still inflicts negative publicity on United Airlines who have done very little to deflect this negative publicity.

News coverage of UNITED BREAKS GUITARS was extensive following Dave Carroll’s video-upload to YouTube. The story was covered around the world by media giants such as CNN, BBC, and the CBC, by influential Internet blogs such as the Huffington Post and Mashable, and by reputable newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times and Rolling Stone Magazine. The coverage slowly died down after a few weeks, increasing yet again with the upload to YouTube of the second song in the trilogy of UNITED BREAKS GUITARS that was promised by Dave Carroll to his supporters,

Since then, while YouTube views of UNITED BREAKS GUITARS continue to climb, the first song having reached over 6 million views, publicity has changed direction, moving into customer service speaking engagements. Dave Carroll has appeared at a number of events including Washington’s congressional hearings on passenger rights. One of his latest engagements was at a Customer Service and Social Networking conference in Colorado Springs where ironically, traveling yet again on United Airlines, his luggage was lost, taking an unfortunate detour via Calgary and Dallas-Fort Worth before it was found and re-routed to its correct destination. Once again, negative publicity swirled around United Airlines and YouTube views of the UNITED BREAKS GUITARS songs climbed to reach over 6 million views.

All in all, these episodes have catapulted Dave Carroll’s music to popularity. His websites have increased from 40-50 hits per week to over 50,000 after the first few weeks of the upload, to over 250,000 during the height of his publicity. Sales of his music have consequently increased from 1-2 songs per day to hundreds of songs per week with UNITED BREAKS GUITARS reaching popularity on iTunes in Canada and the UK during the summer months. Dave Carroll even starred in a recent TV commercial supporting local Canadian TV stations in their David and Goliath battle against giant cable companies,

Below you can watch the UNITED BREAKS GUITARS YouTube songs 1 and 2. You can read more on the public relations aspect of this incident at To see the final song #3 visit



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Anonymous said...

Great Blog... Just FYI though.... the website hits on Dave Carroll & Sons of Maxwell's Websites were actually well over 250,000! :)

Christina Clements said...

Thanks - information is now incorporated!

Jason said...

Youtube has become a great venue for consumers to voice their concerns over company practices. The song "United Breaks Guitars" is a perfect example of it.

Apparently the artist was offered compensation for the damage that was done to his guitars, but only after this song started gaining popularity. It shows you that Youtube is an effective resource available to remedy issues like this. However, the artist did not accept the offer which shows companies that they need to be wary of their actions and the consequences that may follow.

-Jason Carder

Gurtej Sarkaria said...

YouTube, face book and other social media sites are gaining popularity quicker than any other media in terms of marketing. Most of the companies have access to these websites through fan club, home page, quizzes etc.

"The United breaks guitar" is very creative video with music and sense of humour and the message is very clear. This singer highlighted the bad customer service by united airlines. This Video gain popularity and officials from the united airlines apologies for the inconvenience and provide compensation.

Here YouTube play a very strong role to communicate this message to the united air line officials. The most interesting about this video is it has a meaning full message, funny video and song, innovative idea, and advertised free of cost through YouTube. Campaign for this video is so strong that the guy gets compensation from company.

Mina Sucar said...

This is a great example of the changing landscape of communication. Information flows very fast with the popularity of social network sites like Youtube, Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Marketing any topic on the internet has proven to be a very efficent method of getting any message across to a vast number of people. " The United breaks guitar" is a great illustration of how an average individual harnessed the power of social media to send his message to over six million people.

This story makes alot of companies think twice about how to deal with customers and how important customer service is. The video was a great example of how an agitated customer was not only able to reach a large audience in a short period of time, but was also able to influence their openion of United Airlines.

Sam said...

When trying to select a kind of a social media that is right for your advertising message, it's helpful to know some of the advantages
Is it hard to show your voice in public or is it expensive? Nowadays, many people are wondering about such question, males are specially known to make decisions way faster than females, so they may think yes it's expensive in time and so on. However, media left nothing hard!
We are all familiar with YouTube, twitter. Thus study show that Your ad has size and share, and can be as large as necessary to communicate as much of a story as you care to tell through any kinds of these social media sites.
Therefore, "The United breaks guitar” may be a creative example of how to send a message in public through YouTube.
Overall, we still have to make sure that these social Medias are being used in ethical work. For example, youtube has many employees who are keeping the site filtered from any unnecessary uploads, so why don’t we use it!

Brye89 said...

YouTube has gained great exposure in the last 4 years. Evolving from a 'watch anything for free' site to a marketing marvel thanks to the purchase of it by google.

I believe the future of commericals, such trailers and marketing videos will continue to be on Youtube foremost rather than television.

The video itself is extremely realistic in its own way. A type of style I would expect from Bizzare from D12 to undertake. Never-the-less it proves that with a wordplay, some great filming locations (inside the studio) and maybe a little cross dressing anyone can be an internet star. This is definately one of the better videos on the social media site Youtube.

Dinka Lutvic said...

I found this video very funny. I thought that it was a creative way to file a complaint. He was able to reach many people by posting it on YouTube therefore it would be more effective.
It's an easy way to spread the word about poor customer service experiences.
Not only has this video broadcasted the issue he had with United but it also gave him publicity as well. This is also a way for him to bring awarness to him and the fact that he's a singer. Kind off sneaky but it worked. People will remember his name now.
I'm sure that this video has tarnished United Airlines image especially since the story made it to CNN, BBC and CBC.
I thought that the follow up song was very creative and it was effective because it clearly shows what happened and how he was treated by the airline.
I really hope that people voice their experiences like this more often, it's a lot easier to listen to.