By George

George Clooney is a world famous actor as most people know.  However, a few recent stories I have seen recently have demonstrated that behind the good looks and purposely antagonistic interviewing style, is someone who appreciates the people who have impacted his life and the well being of his fellow man (or woman):

George invited “the boys” round for dinner and left designer luggage at each place setting. On opening the bags, each friend found $1 million in $20 bills. (Rande) Gerber (with whom George launched Casamigos Tequila) attempted to refuse the gift, but George argued that if Rande didn’t accept the money, nobody would get it.  Gerber explained that at the time, some of their friends were going through difficult times, struggling to make ends meet. George made the gesture as a thank you for the help each of the friends had given him in the past when he was in a similar position, saying: “I want you guys to know how much you’ve meant to me and how much you mean to me in my life. I came to L.A., I slept on your couch. I’m so fortunate in my life to have all of you and I couldn’t be where I am today without all of you.”

More recently, as many know, the lifelong bachelor got married and now has twins.  During a trip ‘across the pond’ to London, he took the trouble to make a very thoughtful gesture to his fellow passengers:

As previously reported, the couple (Clooney and his wife Amal) gave first-class passengers custom-made noise-canceling headphones, which featured Clooney’s Casamigos tequila logo, on a British Airways flight. A source told Us that director Quentin Tarantino was one of the passengers who happily accepted a pair of headphones.

No matter how important you may think you are, or how famous you may get, being humble enough to recognize, appreciate, and give back to your friends and to also ‘pay it forward’ to fellow airline passengers (granted, first class passengers may not really need noise cancelling headphones) when you *know* it will be a long flight goes a long way.

Well played.  Golf clap.

Surprise and Delight

This past weekend I went to the NY International Auto Show at the Javits Center in Manhattan. When I made my way over to the BMW pavilion, I saw a small sign telling me that if I was one of the first 5 check ins via Foursquare, I’d receive a gift from BMW. Instantly, I remembered that I received a nice, compact umbrella from BMW when I did the same thing last year. I figured this year’s gift would be along the same lines – a nice parting gift with solid value and utility but nothing more than that.

Well, was I dead wrong.

See those nice Harman Kardon headphones? Yup, that’s what BMW generously provided to the first 5 people who checked in to their pavilion this year. Harman Kardon speakers and audio systems are baked into BMW autos (along with Land Rovers, Mercedes Benz and Mini Cooper), ergo the choice of headphones.

The use of social media and Foursquare to help demonstrate the partnership between BMW and Harman Kardon is really smart. To me, this is the real power of platforms like Foursquare. I’ve received a lot of value and incentives from various check ins and this is just another way that marketing and brands can deliver exceptional value and loyalty to people. No, I don’t own a BMW but let me tell you, little things like this definitely make me seriously consider giving BMW SUV’s a second look.

From an customer experience perspective, BMW giving away a few pairs of headphones demonstrates the quality of the sound systems that are baked into each of their cars in a unique and sustained way that will leave a lasting impression on a few lucky individuals. Implicitly, when I use the headphones to listen to music et al, I’ll have some sort of recall about how I got them. Smart. They are also making an extremely positive association for their brand (and Harman Kardon’s) not to mention talk value, WOM, and fools like me publishing a blog post about it.

I listened to some music with them and watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones with them last night, and the sound was fantastic.

So thank you BMW. I’ll be sure to drop by when I’m ready to replace my 2004 model car.