Qantas PR Manager
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.
Qantas Tuesday invited users of the micro-blogging site to enter a “Qantas Luxury” competition, asking people to describe their “dream luxury in-flight experience” and possibly win a pair of Qantas first-class pyjamas and a toiletries kit.
The timing of the PR exercise was questionable, coming just a day after Qantas and its unions broke off contract negotiations and after Qantas grounded its fleet in late October, a drastic move that stranded thousands of angry customers.
PR experts said the campaign was perhaps Australia’s greatest public relations failure and a classic example of the dangers of unpredictable social media…
Unimpressed Twitter users set a stream of responses ranging from caustic jokes about the carrier to ordinary abuse…
Daniel Angus, using the Twitter name “antmandan,” said Qantas luxury meant “being stranded on the other side of the world without warning when you just want to get home to your 10-month-old daughter.”
Qantas last week hired four social media monitors to keep tabs on what people were saying about it on Twitter and Facebook after the fleet grounding. The carrier has also promised generous compensation for stranded passengers.
Cripes – there’s a job description for a truly bored geek.
My favorite Tweet was from user “stanofid” who called the campaign the “Hindenburg of social media strategies.”