There’s that old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” In this new mom’s case, I think we need to change that saying to, “Be careful what you tweet at car companies, they might just take you seriously.”
Beth Newell, comedian and creator of the hilarious Onion-like publication The Reductress, recently had several crazy things happen to her one after the other. She gave birth in the back of a Honda Fit while parked behind the Mamaroneck School of Rock, posted a tweet about it in which she jokingly asked Honda for a new car and, lo and behold, Honda actually gave her one!
— Beth Newell (@bethnew) May 1, 2016
— Plaza Honda (@Plaza_Honda) May 6, 2016
Take that, all you Twitter trolls who hated on Newell because you don’t get sarcasm!
While not at all expected, the new car must’ve been a very welcome surprise, especially considering the couple’s actual car broke down a week before the exciting birth. That’s right, people. It wasn’t even their Honda Fit; it was Newell’s sister’s! Don’t worry though, Honda did right by the original Honda, aka sacred birthplace — they had the car cleaned free of charge, lent Newell’s sister a loaner and brought the new parents 100 free diapers.
Now, before you go off thinking, “Wow, Honda’s the greatest, most charitable car company ever! I’m going to go buy one right now!” remember, that was precisely their plan. They, like any other commercial company would, are simply riding the viral wave and milking it for all the free publicity they can. After all, Newell’s post got 32,000 likes and 19,000 retweets — you can’t buy that kind of attention. Well, actually, I guess you can, but it’ll cost you one three-year lease on a mid-level car.
So, yeah, Honda’s little gesture was likely more for their benefit than Newell’s, but that doesn’t change the fact that Newell and her fellow comedian husband, Peter McNerney, who runs the Magnet Theater in New York City, will be sporting around in a brand, spanking new Honda from now on. And all because of a little misconstrued satire.
Moreover, we don’t mind seeing this sort of publicity, because regardless of its self-serving purpose, it’s ultimately helping a consumer in need. That’s one great thing about the rise of social media — it’s given consumers the ability to reach out to companies directly, and in the public eye, so it’s harder for them to ignore asks and complaints. It’s the quintessential way to keep businesses in check. Remember when you used to have to write letters and call customer service over and over when you had a problem, only to be met with clueless agents and managers who had no intention of helping you? Well, thanks to social media platforms, we can leave those methods in the dust.
However, one caveat. If you, like so many of us, enjoy hurling jokes and quippy comments into the internet’s skeptical face, be sure to do it with caution. Otherwise, you might one day end up with 100 Ikea couches at your door after you joke about giving birth on one.