If this story gets you annoyed and you feel like commenting below, then be aware: you could hear from Holden.
In what is certainly an Australian automotive first – and maybe a global one – the famed car brand is developing a strategy to correct what it calls “mistruths” on independent news websites.
Holden has certainly been the punching bag for the invective of a lot of Aussie motoring enthusiasts since closing local production, killing off the much-loved Commodore and watching its sales plunge 32 per cent in 2018.
Most recently it has had to deny rumours that its parent, General Motors, is considering a pitch from UK-based automotive distributor, Inchcape, to buy it.
“We are at this point where mistruths are allowed to carry forward,” Holden marketing executive director Kristian Aquilina said.
“We don’t want to do it on trivial stuff – we are not that precious – but when there is crap being spoken, and the editors of those publications don’t jump in and correct the record, then I think there is an obligation to do that,” Mr Aquilina said
— Holden (@holden_aus) January 17, 2019
“We have a brand to protect and I’d like to get into that if it comes to a point where it starts to undermine the work we are doing here to try and restore this brand.”
Mr Aquilina says Holden would notify any editors ahead of its people going onto a website to parry with commenters. Any Holden person would also identify themselves in the comments sections.
He also stressed Holden commentary would be in good humour and positive.
Holden is planning to look further afield after having success with what it calls the “fightback” strategy on its own media channels over the last six months.
It has developed a series of scripts around which its responses are based and engaged an agency to pro-actively comment on its own sites.
“The sentiment is turning,” Mr Aquilina insisted. “We measure that stuff and it’s codifying subjective comments, but there is some rigour to it and we’ve seen a 35 per cent decrease in negative sentiment and a slight increase in positive sentiment.
“It’s always been there, it’s just been drowned out.”
Mr Aquilina said Holden would never have the resources to sweep the entire net, but pointed out there was a “big family” of people in the community who support the brand and who alert it to issues.
“Often they say ‘you should be aware of this. It’s crap and it’s gathering momentum’.”
So, what do you think folks? Comment away!