When a Cartoon and a Real World Business Collided Online

When Cartoon Networks, Steven Universe  decide to visit a motel called the Keystone Motel, the real world business received some unexpected visitors, fans of the cartoon to their Google Business Page.

( “Keystone Motel” is the 15th episode of season 2 in Steven Universe )

In this collision of Cartoon and Real World, the businesses reviews jumped from 15 reviews, to the current 1207 reviews left on their business page. Some reviews were for 5 stars and others for 1 star recalling what happened in the episode,  the overall review rating declining to 3.4  overall.

The Google spam team are looking into all of the reviews at the moment, but could the motel have lessened the impact on their business page and their overall review rating ?

When Fantasy and Fiction Collide

“Keystone Motel” in 15th episode.

Steven Universe the Keystone Motel Episode

The real world Keystone Motel

Real World Keystone Motel


How Could the Real Keystone Motel Have Handled This?


I am in no way criticizing the motel, the business should not have had to deal with this, but when online reviews have a direct impact on customer conversions, businesses need to be proactive in protecting their online reputation.

A key element in online reputation is branding, the official Keystone Motel business page is lacking both logo and header images. A blank page most likely helped to anonymise the business, if a fan had found a branded page it might have deterred a few from leaving a 1 star review as this was now a real world business that they were reviewing.

Keystone Motel Google Business Page

Now i don’t pretend to fully understand this fan based culture, what i do undertsand from the amount of reviews posted, is that the fans wanted to feel a part of the experience. Here was an episode that presented an opportunity for them to engage with something in the real world.

The keystone business page has not been posted on by the owners / managers which leaves the only opportunity for a fan to engage with the page via the review section. Had the hotel posted an image of the pool with a title of, “The Pool has Been re-filled after Ruby emptied it“. A post like this would have provided an opportunity for fans to comment and feel engaged, whilst not having to resort to leaving a review to feel as if they had engaged with the Keystone Motel.

( Ruby is a character that was angry and walked into the pool, anger being hot in cartoons, she evaporated the pool )

Keystone Motel Business Page Posts

As mentioned earlier, I don’t fully understand this fan type culture, but I do believe that humanizing the business and providing an outlet to these fans, would have reduced the impact on the review section.

It may have even created a good sized following ( 400,000 views on page ) and the potential for future business from fans, although i would probably watch them near the swimming pool.


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