Monday, April 10, 2017

Two brands did the impossible: unite America !

Some people have their self-righteous heads so far up their @sses, they can't see any other light than their stupidity-induced delusions. In most cases, no idea is too stupid ( think Sharnado, Sharknado 2, Sharknado 3 and so on ... ), so corporate thinking keeps pushing the envelope. But sometimes, rarely, an idea should appear so preposterous as to completely defy common sense.

That apparently was in short supply at Pepsi ... in the most tone deaf ad campaign in history .. they managed to anger just about anyone with a functioning neuron or two. The memes on Twitter were ferocious:

In the first place, WTF were they thinking associating their brand with a Jenner? I mean, there's no more shining example of American success at idiocy ... than the vast ineptitude of all the combined inanities of that family ... Oh, well they saw the light ... and then pulled the plug ... and they apologized.

That's how "adult", "mature" corporations react ... they face things head on and take the right action. And then,. there's United Airlines ...who have managed to make flying coach in the US a blood sport.

The first thing: is do the right thing. You're in the passenger business ... So, maybe, you should have a policy that says if a flight is full we won't bump passengers so our aircrews can fly ... Since you're in the aviation business, you could charter a small plane to get your people to where they need to be ? I mean, if the comfort of passengers is really your main concern (uhm ... what was that thing about girls and leggings recently .. you know we kicked them off the flight because they weren't dressed right ? ). But then again, maybe you're going for a new business model:

Second, don't overbook flights ... I know, there may be a rationale for it ... but it looks bad. And if you're going to have to make amends and offer compensation to passengers who get bumped ... make it attractive ... not a couple hundred ... people value their time more than money ... especially in cramped planes or uncomfortable lounges at airports ...

Finally, if you must, don't send jackbooted thugs to do your dirty business. The police have other heads to crack open !  (nobody gets a pass in this one ... there is NO justification to use force on people who present no threat to others or themselves ... dragging an elderly man down the aisle of a plane ?  takes some brave cops to do that ...)

If you do all those bad things ( and was there ever any doubt that United would commit some other PR or customer relations faux pas ? ) ... then for Pete's sake .... apologize ... quickly, profusely ... and most importantly, sincerely.

What did the United CEO do ? He issued the worst kind of non-apology ... in corporate obfuscating doublespeak ... Much better if he had remained silent ... 

When your apology becomes an issue because it's wrong and blatantly insincere ... you fire your PR/Corp comms head ... you get your head on straight and you start again ... abjectly apologizing again ... not through a statement but maybe via video ...

Oh, and one more thing. You should maybe try to educate your staff about properly addressing customer relations issues ... maybe a memo blaming the victim and justifying violence against a peaceful, elderly passenger will do the trick ! 

Some people say it wasn't really a United flight ... that some other airline was operating that particular plane but if it has your name associated with it : IT'S YOUR BRAND !  

One thing is certain ... United and Pepsi have managed to do something unthinkable until very recently ... to make the Trump White House communications look positively professional and competent ... #alternatefacts Spicey must be happy !