Is this a "good" media hit or a "bad" media hit?

…I can’t tell.

Via Rick Segal comes this Wallstrip (a financial video blog now owned by CBS) feature on Caterpillar. Apparently they make more than the steel toes boots I spent much of my teens in…

If you can’t be bothered to watch the whole video (below), here’s the drift.

The Wallstrip team wanted to do an interview on Cat’s stock (up some $62 a share from $20 in 1992) but were soundly rebuffed by Cat’s public affairs department because they “weren’t a good fit” according to Rachel A Potts.

Wallstrip being Wallstrip, that didn’t stop them and they borrowed some PlayMobil people to have some serious, and seriously off-message fun with Cat’s brand.

But here’s the thing. In poking fun of Cat’s refusal to speak to them, the Wallstrip gang inadvertently broadcast some of Cat’s key messages.

  • Huge, cool yellow machine with the company logo? Check.
  • Cat is the market leader? Check.
  • Cat is a share to buy – it’s doing well and will likely do better? Check.
  • Industries Cat sells to? Check.
  • Vehicles Cat sells? Check.
  • Foreman being crushed by said huge yellow machine with Cat logo? Check. Oh, wait…

So maybe they’re not all strictly on-message.

Sure Cat’s PA team takes a bit of a hit, but my overall impression of them just went up in-spite of Wallstrip’s best efforts.

What are your thoughts? Was this a hit or a miss from the Cat team? What should the team do next?

Maybe they should get a cheap high-def, straight to hard-drive camcorder (about $1500 last time I checked) and do some of their own videos. Not boring interviews with the forepeople of the factories but a “Will it Blend?” knock off. Such as “will it crush?”.

Something irreverent. After all, you can’t take life too seriously; you’ll never get out alive.

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3 Responses to Is this a "good" media hit or a "bad" media hit?

  1. Really interesting stuff Ed- how big is financial news blogging over your side?

  2. Dave says:

    I would think a good PA team would have worked with Wallstrip on this concept. They might have been able to do something similar – fun, playful and on message – without the crushing. Sounds like a missed opportunity to me.

  3. CT Moore says:

    Another case in point of how if people are having a conversation about you, it’s in your interest to try and be part of it.

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