Quicken Loans and Ted Williams – high class or just crass?

This week’s Internet sensation is the story of Ted Williams, the man with a great announcer’s voice who was discovered when a video by the Columbus Dispatch went viral.

He is now on a whirlwind tour, appearing on just about every network morning show and soon to be on late night programs as well. It is entirely understandable why so many people are swept up in this story of hard times and redemption. I’ll admit getting a little misty-eyed when I saw him speaking about his gratitude to God that his estranged mother lived long enough to see him turn his life around.

Along with television and radio appearances, he is getting job offers. One of these job offers comes from Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers (both owned  by Dan Gilbert). They made the offer very publicly, calling into a radio show.  They also offered a home to Mr. Williams.

Quicken Loans did some good, in my estimation by making this offer. But it has become tainted because they are now using twitter, tumblr and a new website to make a social media marketing campaign out of it. Believe me, I know about the positive returns of catching on with buzz and linkbait. However, it really seems a bit wicked to be so flippant as to boast about Fortune workplace ratings…..

Hopscotch courts……

and amuse yourselves with inside jokes….

When ostensibly engaged in an act of goodwill, isn’t a little crass to treat the intended beneficiary as a sideshow attraction? You can’t tell me that Quicken Loans and Dan Gilbert are not trying to get as much publicity as humanly possible as a result of this job offer. So I called them on it, directed to Dan Gilbert’s account on twitter.

And Kelly at Quicken Loans replied….

Reputation monitoring is wise for any corporation and kudos to Kelly for her quick reply. But do see what they did there? They managed to reinforce that they are building a viral marketing campaign around this website by citing the number of comments. Later in the day they boasted of more than 1,000 comments and solicited more.

None of this dissuades me from concluding that Quicken Loans and Dan Gilbert are trying to “make hay while the sun shines” on this story. Seems they are forgetting this story is not fiction. There is a real man involved here.  Ted Williams is more important (as a human being with intrinsic dignity) than your zeal to convince the world that Quicken Loans is a groovy place to work.


Since they seem genuine (and I’m a Cavs fan)  I’ll give Kelly @QuickenLoans space to respond.