A lot of brands are still looking at social media and online communities as just another opportunity to broadcast their message. While many social media experts keep talking about the need to monitor how your brand is perceived online, they often don’t say what this means. My wife recently shared with me an extreme version of the conversation about a project being hijacked by consumers… The Laptop Steering Wheel Desk. The Laptop Steering Wheel Desk is available at Amazon.com a site known for its community of list builders, reviewers, and consumer involvement in building content.

There are over 300 reviews for this product and most of them mock it.  From pictures of 50 car pile ups to reviews such as:

I loved my Laptop Steering Wheel Desk so much I got one for my 90yr old mother. She is an avid crossword puzzle fan and now she can work on them while she is driving back and forth from bingo at the senior center. One cautionary note be careful of those jerks that stop at yellow lights, my poor mother rear ended one and the airbag drove the desk back into her stomach which ruptured her spleen, well after a short down time I’m glad to say she is back on the road and cranking out those NY Times crosswords once again. Thanks Laptop Steering Wheel Desk you have made my mothers life more complete.

While the product looks like it’s  right out of the Onion and may have a life this Christmas as a gag gift, it’s important to remember that conversations outside of a brand’s control are taking place all over the internet. Listening to consumers is becoming increasingly important as they do more and more of the talking themselves and tune out or warp a brand’s marketing messages.

Advertisements