PR Case Study : This is what happened when Ford did not give it's car to Team-BHP for a test drive
Team BHP is India's No.1 auto portal where people post their reviews and ownership experiences of the cars they own. It is a de-facto no. 1 website that auto enthusiasts will visit for unbiased reviews. All auto manufacturers know this and so happily provide a "test vehicle" whenever a new model is launched. To summarize, Team BHP's car reviews are what CRISIL's ratings are for corporates.
Now in this particular case, Team BHP contacted Ford with a request for their Ford Ecosport model which was recently launched. Despite several reminders and follow up messages, Ford did not respond (according to Team BHP). Now one would think that after sending multiple requests and getting rejected so many times, anyone would break all contact with the manufacturer.But not Team BHP. They did the unthinkable (which I would personally call a genius PR move). They publicly asked their viewers/readers if they owned Ford Ecosport and whether they would oblige by giving their vehicle for a few days for review purposes. Team BHP even went to the extent of saying that if no one comes forward, they were willing to buy a car, complete the review in 3 days and then sell it off.
Contrary to what Ford would have imagined, Team BHP got 45 responses within 48 hours from people willing to lend Team BHP their vehicle. In all this sordid saga, Ford has lost. Had they quietly given their test car to Team BHP, their reputation and goodwill in the market would have remained undamaged.
Moral of the Story: Don't mess with the big guys. You have more to lose than they have to gain.
Check out the Team BHP website for further details