As I wrote yesterday, angry fans of the Swedish car brand Saab are taking out their frustration of the Saab bankruptcy on former owners GM and their Facebook page. GM has not written anything on their page since December 16 and the stream of negative comments and nasty images have not decreased. If the strategy from GM is to sit and watch while this blows over, they are running the risk of having their brand severely damaged in the process. The crisis shows no signs of having reached a pinnacle yet.
Images posted on the wall are getting worse and worse. Now, there is even an image portraying GM Chairman Daniel Akerson as Hitler.
A “Boycott General Motors” Facebook group has also been launched, currently attracting more than 100 people.
Even the General Motors page on Wikipedia is under attack.
In other words, the inactivity from GM may eventually hurt them more than if they took action. How long can GM tolerate this outrage on their Facebook page? One day, two days, a week? GM aren’t communicating almost anything about the Saab bankruptcy. One press statement was issued yesterday about the warranty programs for US Saab owners but other than that, GM are silent. So what should GM do?
The first thing they should have done a long time a go, was to have issued community guidelines or comments policy for the Facebook page. Without a policy in place, GM can’t remove anything from the page without running the risk of being accused of censorship.
Another thing GM might want to consider is actively communicating their view of the discussion, like Lowe’s Home Improvement did, after having the same kind of kerfuffle after pulling ads from the All American Muslim reality show.
We will continue to watch this crisis as it unfolds.
On Monday, a Swedish court approved the Saab Automobile bankruptcy petition, filed by the company CEO Victor Muller, which may mean the end of the car brand Saab. Angry and sad Saab fans now blame GM for, among other things, blocking any possibility of a deal with Chinese automakers that could have saved the brand. Many of the fans have taken their frustration out on GM’s Facebook page, which currently is a mix of angry comments and images of Saab cars. A few GM supporters are also joining the discussion but they are clearly in minority.
Some examples of comments:
“So… Let me get this straight. When you guys are on the brink of Bankruptcy, you just go to the Government and have them bail you out. But when SAAB tries to save themselves you jerks screw them. Thank, you. Thank you very much. I hope you have a Merry Christmas.”
“Pathetic GM = Pathetic America”
“GM must die! Go to hell, GM!”
“I will never ever buy a car manufactured by GM.”
Also the pages of other GM brands have recieved comments from Saab fans, like the pages of Buick and GMC.
Here are some of the recent images posted on GM’s wall on Facebook:
GM hasn’t posted anything on its page for four days and seems to be staying out of the current “occupy GM” activity from Saab users. At least GM has not removed any of the negative comments, yet. We’ll see how much nastiness GM will tolerate.
General Motors has agreed to sell Saab Automobile AB to Koenigsegg Group AB, a consortium led by Koenigsegg Automotive AB. It is a major news story in Sweden today. Below you can see the front pages of the leading Swedish dailies online, and two in Norway (one of the main investors behind the purchase is the Norwegian entrepreneur Bård Eker’s Eker Group). Dagens Nyheter and Dagens Naeringsliv almost fill the entire screen with the news about Saab. Also notice that VG.no does not have this story as a main news item today.
To check out what bloggers write about the Saab/Koenigsegg deal today, check out Twingly.
Tags: saab, koenigsegg, saab, koenigsegg. Ping.
Saab is accused of manipulating search engine results via cloaking, a technique which generates one page for search engine’s web crawlers and another page for visitors, with the purpose of increasing search engine ranking. This practice may lead a page to become penalized in search engines. There are also of course legitimate reasons for showing one page for crawlers and one for visitors.
Wil Reynolds, an internet marketing consultant, made the allegations in a speech at a marketing conference in Las Vegas last week, according to BrandWeek. What made Reynolds react was that Saab was ranked in the top ten in Google for “luxury car”. Saab denies any illicit behaviour.
By checking Saab’s site with Webcab.de we can find this textual information, see below. I cannot see how this can be described as cloaking, but I’m no expert on the subject.
Luxury Car – Saab USA – Luxury Vehicle
At Saab USA, we pride ourselves on building a Luxury Car around its driver. Our Luxury Vehicles offer some the best safety features and first class options made available. Check out Saab’s newest 2005 Luxury Car Selection.
Luxury Car – Luxury Vehicles from Saab USA
[Saab USA by GM Motors]
Build Your Saab
About Certified Pre-Owned
Who Are We
9-3 Sport Sedan
Find Your Car
Request a Quote
News and Events
Get Saab Email
9-5 Sport Wagon
Request a Brochure
Gifts and Gear
Gifts and Gear
Request a Brochure
Request a Test Drive
Tags: Saab, cloaking, Saab, SEO. Ping.
Via Researcher I find an article on AdPulp about brand evangelists who intentionally or unintentionally promote different brands on Flickr. Phew, yet another area where the marketing department needs to monitor the brand. By checking Flickr tags for brand names, you can find out stuff like that Saab outnumbers Volvo, for example (867/530).
Being born and raised in Trollhättan, the location of Saab’s world headquarters, I found this article from The New York Times to be interesting (free registration required). It is about the assimilation of the Saab brand into the GM family.
Link via Branding Blog.