The Smart brand made news this week when they smartly outmaneuvered a blogger on Twitter when he suggested the crap of a single bird could destroy one of the cars. Not so, they said. It would take 4.5 million pigeon poops to destroy a Smart.
It was a deft rejoinder, but how do you figure how much poop it takes to destroy a car? Smart contacted us to explain.
The people at Smart are, well, smart, and they called a bunch of farmers to see how much different types of bird poop weighs. They also found out that pigeons each produce 25 pounds of crap every year, which, when you consider the number of pigeons in the world, is probably more than enough to do in a few Smart cars.
Smart's media folks told us that keeping on top of social media is a great way to reach a lot of people quickly, particularly in this case, when a negative Tweet about the brand ended up on reddit and Mashable. It's a strategy called "human behavior," and it seeks to connect with and turn around negative comments, and to show appreciation for positive ones. They saw the poop tweet as an opportunity.
"It worked out great," said Eric Angeloro, Smart's social media director, adding that it was a chance to tell everyone how great their tridion safety cell is. "[Hove] is notorious for putting negative tweets out there, and we caught him off guard."
He explained that since they started the campaign in May, they've responded to three negative tweets, trying to take the sting out of them by applying self deprecating humor to their quirky product. It's a "love the lovers" and "humor the haters" tack that seems to be working, if Hove's response to their humorous infographic was any indication.
They're doing it to us, too. Terry Wei, one of smart's media crew, said that she follows Jalopnik closely. She's noticed that our coverage and commentary about their little urban transporter tends to be mildly derisive. Since this story that cast the company in a positive light, they wanted to make the most of it and jumped at the chance to tell us more.
Smart cars clearly aren't for everyone, but Smart thinks there's a use for them. For their part, the company's media team expects to see more mockery made of their strange little buggy in the future, but that they plan to combat it by going along with the jokes in a way that might bring a few people around to their way of thinking.
"You don't need that back seat," Wei said. "Ninety-six million people drive to work alone everyday. We're challenging people to rethink what they do day to day, and try 'right sizing' their cars. It took a lot of work to put that awesome infographic together, but we think all the crap was worth it."
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/ 3dimentii