Chevrolet & Nintendo; Two Brands Getting Social Engagement Right

Nov 9, 2010 by

This past weekend in Dallas was an active one when it came to being a blogger and working with internationally recognized brands Chevrolet and Nintendo.

Through the power of Twitter, over the past two years now I’ve developed an online friendship with Donna McLallen of Chevrolet.  You might know her at @GMTexas and now @DrivePower on Twitter.  (If you don’t, I encourage you to reach out to her.)

As you will recall, back in April I went out to Texas Motor Speedway for the first time in living in the DFW area for almost 10 years.  It rained that weekend so the races ultimately were run on the weekdays, but there came the promise from Donna that I’d be invited back in November.

Well, the weather Saturday was perfect.  I received tickets to go to the special tented area Chevrolet had set up at the track.  I got to take a pit tour.  And then I got to drive one of about 50 Silverados around the track with a driver standing up in the back.   Then I got to go to great seats in the grandstand and watch the race.

But in the midst of all that was the subtle exposure to the new like of Chevrolet cars and trucks.  We all know I’m a huge fan of the Traverse (see

It was a completely positive experience.  There was no push.  There’s not even a push to write this post.  It was that comfortable of an event.


Sunday afternoon proved to be a great experience with Nintendo and their partnership with the American Heart Association.  At the Four Seasons in Irving, I got the opportunity to meet new people, check out the Wii Sports Resort product, and then have a very nice, (and healthy) lunch, and hear from inspirational speaker Hank Wasiak, and three health panelists from the DFW area. (I’m reading Wasiak’s book Change The Way You See Everything now and a review shall follow shortly.)

After a question and answer session, we were invited back down to the display room and were free to play some more before being given a goodie bag filled with a Wasiak’s book, a Nintendo shirt, and a copy of Wii Sports Resort.

Again, the push wasn’t on the products being sold.  The push was on having fun getting fit and a focus on the seven things you can do to get your body healthy that are recommended by the AHA.

Before leaving, we all were encouraged to write a letter to ourselves that will be mailed to us at some future date.  In my letter to me, I encouraged myself to keep moving forward, to keep my focus, and to keep working hard to eat better, exercise and hopefully, live a while longer as a result of doing such.


I provided some clues as to what about all this really worked for me, but I’ll refresh.

1) These brands were featuring their products, but there was no heavy-handed “car salesman” push to get me to buy anything.  That makes the experience less stressful.

2) The events were fun and positive experiences.  One got me outdoors and walking (From my Nintendo PT Walking pedometer I walked about 6.5 miles on Saturday at TMS), and the other got me doing interactive exercises in my living room, and provided me with a stimulating, self-motivating book, which is just the sort of thing I read, re-read and then apply.

3) They provided me with new contacts, gave me an opportunity to meet new bloggers and friends, and already have led to some very promising business opportunities.

Over on my business site, we talk about the social impact, innovation and invention tactics we use to help clients expand their reach and build strong communities around their products and services.

From the activities this past weekend, I have two new and incredible examples of brands that are getting it right.

Disclosure: I received access into TMS, a Chevrolet t-shirt, was fed and drove around the TMS track one lap while at the TMS event.  Through the Nintendo event, which was arranged by Brand About Town in LA, a contact I made through the Modern Media Man Summit, I received a lunch at the Irving, Texas Four Seasons, a copy of Hank Wasiak’s book, a copy of Wii Sports Resort, and a Nintendo shirt.  I have not been paid in cash by either of these companies to write this piece.

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Another Great Weekend with a @Chevrolet Traverse!

Aug 16, 2010 by

The Dallas Morning News has a story coming out in Tuesday’s paper about my work with brands like Chevrolet and how they’re being more proactive to work with bloggers on the Internet.

My girls and I had our photos taken in this car on Thursday.

And the company that helps with loaners just came and got the car.

I’m sad now.

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June 24, 2010: One of my best days alive, ever; Especially as a dad

Jun 24, 2010 by

If you’ve been following our adventure over on this week as we’ve traveled from DFW on Monday to Marquette, Michigan on Wednesday, you’ll know that we’ve been having a ball, but what’s just as important, my girls and I are connecting in a new and special way, and an added benefit, we’re now growing closer to my dad, who has been with us on the journey the past two days.

Safe v. Unsafe

We’ve also had a couple of rules this trip, the biggest one, we’re using “Safe words” and “Safe practices” and keeping things, emotions, words, and practices that would not be emotionally uplifting or “safe” from joining us on the trip.  And the contrast in the two concepts has been eye-opening.  Now sisters, particularly twin sisters who have been competitive since even before birth (Reagan, the older one by seven minutes, had been Baby B up until about 24 hours before birth.  She shoved Haley out of the way then and largely has been doing it ever since.)  that gets to be a little challenging at times, but we’re really handling it quite well.

That’s also meant we’ve cut our contact with Ex1 down considerably and haven’t even bothered to even think much about Ex2.  For as books about “Safe People,” “Safe Words,” and “Safe Emotions” clearly have pointed out to me how they fall into none of the three categories whatsoever, and the more they spew “Unsafe words, emotions, etc,” well, I find that I tend to respond in emotional ways that are “unsafe,” too.  (Now when I say that, I don’t mean that in a physical sense.  I mean that purely in the sense that I stoop to their levels and that’s something I’m really trying to correct in my life.)

Safe.  It’s been such a more peaceful way to live as I seek to find new friends, new practices, and new emotions that all are what a counselor, psychiatrist, etc would deem “safe.”  Putting the abusive criticisms, the irrational behavior, the anger, the anxieties of others behind me has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.  Just getting finally to the point where I brought myself to realize, “what I’m enduring isn’t normal,” has been one of the healthiest things I’ve ever accomplished.  Safe.  Safe.  Safe.

Camp Claxton

In 1976, my dad bought 40 acres of land here in Northern Michigan.  It was out in the middle of nowhere then and it remains in the middle of nowhere today. Once, before we were transferred from KI Sawyer AFB in 1978 out to Castle AFB in the San Juaquin Valley of California, dad brought myself and my three brothers out the the land to shoot.  I remember that day vividly and have longed to return up here since we moved away so long ago. 

For the past couple of years, I’ve been wanting to bring the girls up here, but because of the marriage I was in, that was just impossible. Now, thanks to the generosity of Chevy and GM, they’ve loaned me a red jewel 2010 Chevrolet Traverse for a week and a half and we’ve come north in it.  (You can read more about that over on

So today, we brought my three girls, Chandler, 13, and the twins, who will be 11 next month, out to the land.  Back in 1976 there’s no way I could have even dreamed that 34 years later I’d be bringing my own daughters here.  And today, we brought guns; a .22 and dad’s revolver which shoots .357 and .38 shells.

Now hiking from the car into the heart of our land, the girls got apprehensive.  All that excitement about going to the land and shooting guns got eclipsed by, “you mean there really are bears out here?”  “We saw that red fox run across the road a few miles away.  Are there more of them?  Are they going to get us?”

And then when we got to the camp itself and it got time to shoot, there was a clear apprehension among the three of them.  Finally, Reagan, (remember above, the aggressive/competitive one who pushes her sisters out of the way?) stepped forward once again.  Haley, had decided to go first and then was afraid of the sounds, holding the weapon, and then the recoil, which if you know anything about a .22, there isn’t one.

And so the shooting began.  Reagan, with my dad helping support the gun, and even her anxious during the first clip of five shots, still wasn’t quite sure of it all. But after the second or third shot ….

Then followed Chandler, my 13-year-old.  Her new motto is, “Hi, my name is Chandler.  Chandler knows how to shoot a gun.”  [And you know, her being 13 and beautiful, I don’t think I’m all that much bothered in her having that as a motto, particularly around boys. 🙂 ]

And then Haley jumped to it.  In all, I’d say that each daughter shot the .22 about 10 rotations.  Each time, their confidence, aim and excitement grew.  And I don’t mean just about shooting guns.  I mean about growing up and being strong, safe women.

By the time we walked away from our land, and there were protests as we did, (though Chandler was clinging to the fact that she only had one or two bars on her iPhone) all of them, and even Chandler, had been converted.  They now understood why their dad always tells them that this was one of the greatest places on earth to be a boy.

And as we stood/sat/shot there in the woods, the trees were blowing in the winds.  The rush across the leaves was like a full symphony.  The temperature was about 64 degrees and the sun was shining.  And in all of that, I heard the whispers of time, the pains from the wounds of my failed relationships, rushing away from me as though the sounds of the leaves were bathing me in the comfort of a life I once knew.  And in that sound, too, was the sound of a new time of life for my three girls.  They looked different as they walked back to the Traverse.

Before we left, each of them was holding the .22 on their own.  They were aiming on their own.  And each of them was hitting the target a good 20 paces away.

Today was a day of safety.  Dad taught them gun safety.  The girls gained new confidence in themselves.  And they learned to be free of the daily grinds of a big city and to find the comforts in the beauty of nature.

There are a dozen other points I could make about today, and thanks to this week-long trip from Chevrolet, I’ll have more adventures to write about tomorrow and the next day.  But I’m exhausted at the moment from the emotions, the safe ones, of today’s adventures.  The girls are asleep, no doubt dreaming of being marksmen and adventure seekers in the trails and woods of Northern Michigan; just as their dad did almost 35 years ago.


I don’t know what all we’ll wind up doing tomorrow.  Laughing White Fish Falls?   Sugar Loaf Mountain?  We’ve still not all been to Presque Isle.  It doesn’t matter.  Each day this week has been more adventuresome than the one before it and each has been just as amazing and memorable.

For all the things my girls will endure as they grow older into their teens and then into adulthood, today is one of those times that will forever remain etched into their memories, but as importantly, it’s now a part of their fabric of life.   That makes me so proud for them, and today, as they conquered their fears and stepped forward with more and more gusto as the morning progressed, I grew more and more proud of them for as their dad, and as my dad did me, and now even to his own grand daughters, instilled a new excitement for life in them and no matter what happens, no one shall be able to take that away.

I end this post with a photo, which if you look at the one above leading into the woods, and compare it to the one leading out, I don’t know if you can see it, but I see three very strong and proud daughters.

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@GMTexas, The Beginning of our Traverse Adventure–We got the car!

Jun 21, 2010 by

UPDATE: We’ve got the car!

It’s 9:03 a.m. and the girls and I now have everything packed.  We’re waiting on arrival of our 2010 Chevy Traverse that’s being loaned to us until June 30.

As soon as we get the car this morning, we’ll load it up, load a few pics, and get on the road, headed toward Northern Indiana.   We won’t make it today.  But we’ll put a lot of distance between us and Dallas.

More information will be posted on  And an added surprise, my daughter, Chandler is going to be tweeting, too!

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