Chevrolet and Major League Baseball may have made a prudent call to cancel its “Silverado Strong” World Series promotion. With critics claiming it was too similar to the “Boston Strong” mantra adopted after the Boston Marathon bombing in spring, it could have erupted into a social media firestorm.
Hill Holliday Chairman Mike Sheehan, who led the effort to create the One Fund Boston charity that’s raised $72 million for bombing victims, thinks Chevy and MLB went overboard canceling the promotion in which fans were supposed to hold signs spelling out “Silverado Strong” during Game 5 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The use of the term “Strong” is ubiquitous on Madison Avenue and in pop culture, noted Sheehan. Think the U.S. Army’s “Army Strong” ad campaign, which replaced the late “Army of One” effort. The victims of superstorm Sandy in New Jersey have adopted “Jersey Strong” as their slogan for resilience and recovery.
Said Sheehan: “The term ‘strong’ is very broad. It’s been used by the U.S. Army for years, and it was used in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. It also happens to be a key attribute of a pickup truck. I just don’t see it as being exploitive of any particular group of people — and I am ultrasensitive to the survivors of the Boston bombings being exploited in any way.”
In the aftermath of the bombing that killed three and wounded more than 180 people, Sheehan and his team put together the One Fund in just seven hours. Since then, Sheehan has devoted much of his time to weeding out charlatans trying to bilk people who want to help Marathon victims.