Buzz On/Buzz Off: The Chevy Guy

Chevy Guy

The Chevy Guy Rikk Wilde, left, withers as Giant pitcher Madison Bumgarner watches.

Dave Boldt: I’m Not Wilde About Rikk

In the spirit of full disclosure, know that I watched but five innings of the World Series’ game seven – and they weren’t the last five innings. With the score 3-2 in favor of the Giants, I was again reminded why I rarely (make that never) pay close attention to baseball. In fact, my closest attachment of late has been watching the portrayal of George Steinbrenner on old (make that ‘very old’) episodes of Seinfeld. So, off to bed I went. However, rather than waking the next morning to an update on the final score, I awoke to a viral brouhaha regarding Chevy’s presentation of a new Colorado pickup to the Series MVP, Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner.

Chevy’s presenter, Chevrolet zone manager Rikk Wilde, screwed up the presentation about as badly as one can screw up a live presentation. Before Mr. Wilde is even introduced it begins badly; in profile Rikk looks to be a bigger fan of the meatball than the baseball. With note cards in hand (for, we’ll guess, insurance…), and a mental block as wide as the Missouri between what he wanted to say and what was coming out of his mouth, those still awake after god-knows-how-many scoreless innings witnessed a signature moment in live TV, i.e., how not to do it. In his defense, Mr. Wilde was given far too much to say. The intent shouldn’t have been to provide a spot commercial for Chevy’s new Colorado; rather, it should have simply and clearly highlighted Chevy’s continued involvement in what used to be America’s favorite pastime. You know, baseball, hot dogs and Chevrolet?

Of course, in a viral age no bad deed goes unnoticed, and with viral activity providing an exponential kick in the number of impressions, no bad deed is long regarded as a bad deed; except, apparently, by yours truly. At a time when GM is reeling from self-inflicted wounds while buried under a litany of both mandated and voluntary recalls, you’d think Chevrolet’s communications team might have relied on an A-list presenter for a national presentation. Beyond the obvious – General Motors CEO Mary Barra – I can personally think of a dozen GM execs capable of conveying Chevy’s best wishes (and a Colorado) to the Series MVP in a concise, professional manner. And while ‘concise’ and ‘professional’ probably won’t go viral, should GM wish to bury its image as America’s bumbling carmaker, they could – and should – start by not installing bumbling executives in such visible roles.

If I were to meet Rikk Wilde I’m sure I’d enjoy him. I could bring a few questions, and he could bring a few notecards…

Dave Boldt


John Matras: Taking one for the team

They say there’s no bad p.r. just as long as you spell my name right. Well, it’s Chevrolet Colorado, and it’s a new pickup, and it has, all together now, technology and stuff. Got that? Chevrolet, Colorado, new pickup truck, technology.

No one will have trouble remembering because the video of Chevrolet zone manager Rikk Wilde has gone viral, and to paraphrase a Las Vegas, what goes on YouTube stays on YouTube. The video you can look it up yourself. It only takes a couple of keywords and it’s there.

And it’s painful. If you laugh at the guy, you’ve never been there yourself. Public speaking isn’t something learned overnight, at least for most people. And if someone at Chevrolet hadn’t coached him and he didn’t practice, practice, practice for his live national television debut, well, someone screwed up.

How would you like to be Rikk Wilde’s kid at school? Don’t even gto there.

But watch the video again and don’t look at Rikk Wilde. Look at Madison Bumgarner. Yeah, he’s a bum alright. Please, a bit of noblesse oblige, Mad Bum. You just won the World Series, you’re getting a free truck (and at your pay grade a Corvette is pocket change), and this average joe is squirming like a worm under a magnifying glass in the sun. He’s dying. Pitch a little relief for the guy. Step in with a big empathetic grin, shake his hand and lift the world off the guy’s shoulders. You know the patter. You give it to the media every day.

“You know, we’re all part of the team. I’ve seen the Chevrolet Colorado and I’m looking forward to driving it. We appreciate everything that Chevrolet does for our national pastime. Thanks again for the Chevrolet Colorado. And do I get to pick the color? My friend, Rikk Wilde, everyone!”

But Bumgarner turned his back on Wilde.

Rikk Wilde’s fifteen seconds for fame turned into fifteen seconds of shame. He took one for the team that he’ll take to the grave. Remember—if you can’t forget: Chevrolet Colorado, new pickup truck, technology. Chevrolet Colorado, new pickup truck, technology.

–John Matras