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November 23, 2011 10:03 PM   Subscribe

Australia's Qantas Airlines has been left red-faced after an ill-timed public relations campaign and Twitter competition backfired, drawing thousands of angry responses. The contest ran a day after talks with unions broke down, and after Qantas grounded its entire fleet in October. Thousands of passengers were stranded worldwide after the firm halted flights in an attempt to end months of strike action by workers angered by the firm's restructuring plans. The "Qantas Luxury" promotion, launched on 22 November, quickly tapped into customers' ire. ~ BBC
posted by infini (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
"At this rate our #QantasLuxury competition is going to take years to judge".

Ugh...
posted by Blasdelb at 10:33 PM on November 23, 2011


The PR people for QANTAS have got to be some of the most tone deaf people on the planet. At the same time as all the industrial action happened and they were refusing to negotiate on pay for their pilots and ground staff the CEO was revealed to have a 71% increase in his pay package, and they couldn't seem to see anything wrong with that!

I think the thing that makes me the angriest is that people that stupid are rich and I'm not.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 10:54 PM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Qantas has never crashed.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 11:37 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Samuel Farrow wrote: Qantas has never crashed

Well, other than the crashes. They once rebuilt a 747 at a higher cost than buying a new one so they could continue their zero-hull-loss record. Thanks to that, they may still have a perfect record. (as their present corporate entity, that is) I could have sworn I read something about them losing an Airbus, but the Google isn't productive, so I'm probably misremembering.
posted by wierdo at 11:56 PM on November 23, 2011


Qantas has never crashed.

Rainman?
posted by Wantok at 12:07 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Qantas has never crashed.

Given that you could have bought a lot of puts on Quantas and then "invested" that money in Bank of America stock and come out ahead, I think you have to qualify this statement carefully.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:50 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I could have sworn I read something about them losing an Airbus, but the Google isn't productive, so I'm probably misremembering.

wierdo, could you maybe be conflating an Air New Zealand crash with a Qantas incident from around the same time? Both involved Airbus aircraft and were just a few weeks apart.
posted by adamt at 2:32 AM on November 24, 2011


I can see why, if you were Qantas, you'd marketing your little hearts out right now, but surely you'd want a very tightly controlled message. Interacting with the public is fraught with peril at the best of times, but to open themselves up on twitter like that now.... I don't know, but it seems to me they must be drinking their own kool-aid to be that disconnected. What happened to market research?
posted by adamt at 2:46 AM on November 24, 2011


Social media commentator Peter Clarke wrote: "Epic PR fail, excellent case study in corporate cultural tone deafness. Simply don't get it".

The fail was in timing. Obviously this campaign was months in the making and had not the unions and management created so much ill will with the public before it was launched, it probably would have gone off without a hitch.

The fail is not pulling the plug on a planned marketing campaign once the brand had been so damaged. But epic? Like naming your new smartphone after the Spanish word for whore? No way. This is a bit embarrassing, that was epic.

Who knows? Maybe it allowed enough people to let off steam that it will anyway have a positive longer term effect. Giving people a way to vent their anger and "get back" in a humorous, poke Quantas in the ribs sort of way like this - even if unintended - is maybe not really a bad idea at all.
posted by three blind mice at 3:11 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just like in litigation, where you never ask a witness a question to which you do not already know the answer, never put forth a message as part of a PR campaign over which you do not have total control.
posted by valkyryn at 3:35 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Obviously this campaign was months in the making

Tweet us for a pair of pyjamas? Months, really?

Honestly, I think it's that usually with "tell us in 100 words or less how great we are" competitions, the entries aren't public, so there's complete control of the publicity. Not so when you're doing it via Twitter.

It's a lazy attempt to run an old, lame publicity staple in a new medium, without thinking through the consequences. Incompetence, pure and simple.
posted by robcorr at 3:37 AM on November 24, 2011


Honestly, whenever I see this sort of cock-up, I wonder if there's some sleeper agent secretly working to bring about this sort of chaos. Who ever said the PR people didn't let this slip by out of sympathy for the ground crews? We have enough people working that end of things here who know that a cliet can often be bossy, pushy, unreasonable and overly penny pinching. There may be merriment in the firm about this one.
posted by Jilder at 3:39 AM on November 24, 2011


it seems to me they must be drinking their own kool-aid to be that disconnected

The corporate PR team and the consumer PR team might exist within different agencies. That's all it takes, unfortunately.
posted by Summer at 4:04 AM on November 24, 2011




But epic? Like naming your new smartphone after the Spanish word for whore? No way. This is a bit embarrassing, that was epic.

Eh. That article seems kind of silly to me. For one thing, even the author has to admit the facts are a stretch: 'Now, I know that someone out there is currently shouting "I'm a fluent speaker of Spanish and I've never heard this definition! [...] It is not a particularly commonly used term and only appears in Spanish dialects with heavy Gypsy influences.' Which does kind of seem to be the case; the Spanish girl next to me, at least, had never heard of 'lumia' meaning 'prostituta' until five minutes ago. In any case, it's a fool's errand trying to avoid using any words that might possibly be rude somewhere. I mean, off the top of my head, "bite" and "pet" mean "dick" and "fart" in French respectively - meanwhile, there are several thousand other languages spoken in the world by any measure. Sure, it might be worth it for a company as global and huge as Nokia to check on these things, and certainly when it comes to major languages and major markets. But it just seems like, god internet, do we really have to make something that should be an occasion for a minority of speakers to do some minor chuckling into a crisis?
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 5:40 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


it seems to me they must be drinking their own kool-aid to be that disconnected

That's describes every marketing team that I've ever worked with.
posted by octothorpe at 8:18 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


In any case, it's a fool's errand trying to avoid using any words that might possibly be rude somewhere.

I hear this is why you can't get a grilled cheese sandwich at Dennys any more.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:44 AM on November 24, 2011


"Taking off #QantasLuxury"

Favourite one I've seen so far.
posted by smithsmith at 11:54 AM on November 24, 2011


The PR people for QANTAS have got to be some of the most tone deaf people on the planet. At the same time as all the industrial action happened and they were refusing to negotiate on pay for their pilots and ground staff the CEO was revealed to have a 71% increase in his pay package, and they couldn't seem to see anything wrong with that!

I think the thing that makes me the angriest is that people that stupid are rich and I'm not.
People need to stop attributing to stupidity what can be attributed to malice. If this guy's goal is to make more money, he's doing pretty well, right?

It's a typical corporate raid. Run a company into the ground by squeezing every penny in order to boost the quarterly numbers, increasing share price. Then cash out. Be sure to pay yourself lavishly along the way. Easy.
Who knows? Maybe it allowed enough people to let off steam that it will anyway have a positive longer term effect. Giving people a way to vent their anger and "get back" in a humorous, poke Quantas in the ribs sort of way like this - even if unintended - is maybe not really a bad idea at all.
That's the "catharsis" theory in psychology, which has been disproven. Talking about angry feelings only reinforces them.
Eh. That article seems kind of silly to me. For one thing, even the author has to admit the facts are a stretch:
Remember how everyone thought 'Wii' was a terrible name when it was announced, and everyone was sure Nintendo would drop it? They stuck by it and everything was fine.
posted by delmoi at 12:20 PM on November 24, 2011


Remember how everyone thought 'Wii' was a terrible name when it was announced, and everyone was sure Nintendo would drop it? They stuck by it and everything was fine.

Actually, a Fridge Brilliance sort of theory I heard regarding this was that they gave it that name so that everybody would to refer to it as the Nintendo Wii (it being rather awkward to say otherwise), thus greatly increasing brand retention.
posted by solarion at 9:11 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


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