When it comes to social media, the saying ‘any publicity is good publicity’ doesn’t really apply. Qantas is just the latest company to face a social media backlash after a Twitter competition went awry.
Social media can be an uncontrollable beast. Which is why it is surprising that Qantas thought it would be a good idea to run a Twitter competition, inviting followers tweet their ‘dream luxury inflight experience’ using the hashtag QantasLuxury for the chance to win a first class amenity kit and QF Pyjamas. Surely this is one of those rare occasions when foresight should have been twenty-twenty.
A month after Qantas grounded its fleet, leaving passengers stranded all over the world (including this writer!), the social media backlash was (and still is) enormous.
Tweets in response to the competition include:
- #QantasLuxury is getting from A to B without the plane being grounded or an engine catching fire
- More than 3mins notice that the whole service has been grounded #QantasLuxury
- #QantasLuxury being able to catch a plane somewhere sometime
- #QantasLuxury is seeing your planes on Getaway not Four Corners
- #QantasLuxury is the dream world Alan Joyce lives in where all the feedback to the Qantas action has been positive
- #QantasLuxury – #twitterfail of the year. Look at your market perceptions before starting this kind of campaign
In perhaps one of its wiser moves, Qantas’ reaction is was to simply tweet: ‘#QantasLuxury is just one of many comps we’ve run lately. Thanks for the entries.’
Social media opens up a wealth of opportunities for retailers to engage their audience and push boundaries. Even a little controversy is not altogether a bad thing. But the perils of brandjacking can have major implications, especially for smaller Australian retailers. When it comes to Twitter and Facebook, you give control and power to your followers. It’s surprising that Qantas thought that giving its disgruntled customers a voice through Twitter would be a positive PR move. What is unsurprising is the mob mentality that the QantasLuxury hashtag created.