Consumer Advocacy by YouTube – United Breaks Guitars

Frustrated consumers and lawyers alike often threaten to take complaints to the press in an attempt to get satisfaction for an alleged wrong. After all, the “headline risk” of being perceived in a bad light by the public can sometimes be a sobering reality check on whether the entity is not treating a consumer fairly, or whether the complianant is just off base.

Earlier this week, this video was placed on Youtube – was viewed over 150,000 times in its first 2 days – and resulted in United coming to the table to resolve it.

According to the story/song, the Halifax based band “Sons of Maxwell” was travelling from Halifax to Nebraska. At a stopover in Chicago, they witnessed baggage handlers throwing their guitar – which resulted in severe damage to an expensive instrument. The airline didn’t deny what happened, but after being denied any compensation after many months of trying – they told the airline they would make a video of it.

It seems to have worked, and no doubt has been great publicity for the band. (The video is actually quite amusing.)

So is this the next tool in the legal arsenal? Or a new business model – music video advocacy? Hopefully we won’t see lawyer music videos on Youtube as an extension of the courthouse step press conference.

Read more detail and commentary about this on Boing Boing and the Los Angeles Times. It even made CNN.

UPDATE: As of early Friday am – 4 days after it was posted – the video has had 1.3 million hits! Dave Carroll was quoted as having a goal of getting a million views within a year.


  1. For an alternative view of the United Breaks Guitar situation, take a look at