For the staff, members and fans of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, bad news came during the early morning hours of February 12, 2014 when a sinkhole opened up under its Skydome display area. Security camera footage shows something like a million dollars worth of prized Corvettes tumbling thirty feet into a 40 x 60-foot chasm where they were crushed by tons of dirt, rocks, concrete and other Corvettes. Fortunately, three were not damaged beyond repair. Five of the iconic sports cars, however, were crushed nearly flat and can’t be fixed. Eighteen months later, the hole has been filled in, and the museum awaits restoration of the final damaged Corvette.
The fascinating twist in all of this is that museum attendance has increased significantly since those dark days two winters ago as Corvette aficionados in far greater numbers stop by to see the hole and inspect the damaged cars on display. The sinkhole has been filled in and the floor repaired. And the museum staff, who work among seemingly endless displays created around the Corvette theme, remain optimistic that publicity generated by the event will keep fans coming.
“People just really enjoy hearing the story and like seeing the damage,” spokesperson Katie Frassinelli said, in a story reported by Associated Press. “I guess it’s the rubberneck effect.”
We all get that. It borders on shocking to see violent damage inflicted on a Corvette or some other finely crafted machine that’s been whacked or crushed or flooded – like the rows of new Volkswagens destroyed in last week’s Tianjin, China explosion and fire.
But what I don’t get is how little story about the sinkhole event there is on the Corvette Museum’s Web site, which, given all the notoriety and increased attendance, should be featured more prominently – or at least be directly accessible from the site’s landing page. I had to hunt and hunt and hunt before I found mention of the sinkhole ‘Vettes and even sat patiently through a breathlessly paced video that I thought might contain footage of the cars tumbling toward their fate – or the sinkhole’s after effects; it did not.
To their credit, the museum has embraced what at first must have seemed like a nightmare and has turned it into a plus. They just need to let the world know about it more effectively – front and center. They need more story, because as no less a personage than The Donald has said,
“Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”
TakeAway: Shine up that bad apple and put it to work for your business.
Content © by Brian Faulkner