Last week, the Charlotte Observer ran a story stating that the Foo Fighters were rumored to be in Charlotte on Saturday as part of their White Limo Tour. I never got into Nirvana, but I like the Foo Fighters and love the energy that Dave Grohl has as a writer and musician. Anyway, a few people in social media shared the Observer story with me, knowing that I’m a fan, and together we speculated on where they’d show up to promote their new CD.
There’s a song and video on the new album called White Limo. Thanks to the success of the video (nearly 1.5 million views in just over a month), the band is using the limo as an icon for promoting the upcoming tour, and they’re driving the limo across the country stopping in different cities to play the album. They even created a Twitter account, @WHITELIMOTOUR, and have used Twitter to mobilize fans to the whereabouts of the limo so that they could get a listen to the album. And, yes, see the car from the video.
On Saturday afternoon, the limo was in Charlotte at Lunchbox Records. There was a pretty good sized crowd at the record store, and from what I gathered, most people were expecting the Foo Fighters to show up. Even though I’d seen a tweet from Lunchbox stating that the band was NOT going to appear, I decided to take my daughters anyway, since it’s in the neighborhood. Besides, they were probably going to give away some stuff. And who knows – maybe the band would show up and surprise everyone.
When the limo arrived, it pulled into the tight lot and everyone gathered round. The windows were too dark to tell if anyone important was in the back or not. The crowd was hushed. We waited for Dave Grohl to pop out of the sunroof. After a few minutes, one of the back doors opened and a guy got out and opened the trunk. It wasn’t Dave. “No, they’re not here.” He said to some fans. Someone else asked if they were giving anything away, “Sorry, we’re not giving anything away.” The guy then pulled two speakers out of the trunk, and started playing the new album. And that was it. I had the girls get inside the limo for a picture. Then we left. Arriving at home, I tweeted this:
The first concert our oldest daughter (10) attended was the Foo Fighters when they played CityFest in 2002. No, she doesn’t remember, but mommy and daddy are big fans and we couldn’t find a babysitter. Anyway, the FF have been an important part of our family’s soundtrack over the years. So yes, I thought it was pretty lame that one of the best rock bands in the world couldn’t do a little more for their loyal fans.
Later that day, @WHITELIMOTOUR started following me on Twitter. The driver asked for my email address. The next morning, I received a very thoughtful email from Robbie Lloyd, aka ‘The Driver.’ His long email started like this:
“Thanks for sending me your email. I wanted to reach out to you personally. We are not in the habit of letting people down and having worked with the management company for 3 years, I can tell you first hand that Dave Grohl and his entire band and crew are some of the nicest, hardest working people I’ve ever worked with in 20+ years in the music business.”
In the email, Robbie didn’t try to make excuses, but rather apologized for the misunderstanding and said that they never told the Observer that the band was coming. I believe him. And I felt bad for he and his driver partner who had to deal with something like what happened in Charlotte all because of an irresponsible reporter at a newspaper.
The reason I’m even spending the time writing this post is to point out how Robbie was able to do something good within the social media space. Any brand manager for a Fortune 500 could learn a thing or two about this. His authentic appeal, empathy for customers and an understanding of how influence works in this space is something to be applauded. Sure, I wish the Foo Fighters had showed up to play a quick set on Saturday. And yes, I’d have loved a free tee shirt or something. But it is what it is, and after Robbie’s email, I’m ok with it.
Well done, Robbie. Thanks for reaching out.