You may have seen the coverage of a passenger being hauled off a United Airlines flight to Chicago this week all over the news and social media. The shocking images are not great publicity for the carrier, but represent an opportunity for other airlines to take advantage of the world’s attention being caught.
For example, Monarch Airlines was quick to respond with an image of their friendly staff with a simple message in their branded colours attached. It read: “Don’t worry, we won’t overbook your flights. Always book Monarch.co.uk” and was shared on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
On Facebook, it has had over 1,000 reactions, 240 shares to date and over 100 comments singing the praises of Monarch’s services.
It’s a great way to tap into the conversation and reaffirm the message that Monarch has been sending out recently about its helpful staff in its TV ad campaigns. Putting itself in direct contrast to United Airlines and the negative attention it is receiving, Monarch shows it cares about its passengers and reassures them such an experience would never happen to them onboard.
But Monarch is not the only airline that is using negative news stories to its advantage. It’s safe to say that the US travel ban promised and imposed by President Donald Trump was not the best news in the world for Royal Jordanian. After all, the airline is the national carrier of a Muslim country. And while Jordanians weren’t prevented from flying to the US, people from some of its neighbouring countries were.
Instead of sitting back and feeling frustrated that the citizens of seven Muslim countries were being blocked from travelling to the US, Royal Jordanian took it in their stride. In fact, they started before Trump was even elected president, with an ad on social media that read: “Just in case he wins…Travel to the US while you’re still allowed to.”
This approach, which was designed by the Memac Ogilvy Advize agency, worked really well and received an organic reach of 450 million. There are a number of reasons why it was so well-received. The first is that it tapped into a real fear among Muslims – the airline’s target market – and addressed it full-on. Secondly, it did this with humour and empathy, mocking Trump and not those who were affected by the situation.
And for Royal Jordanian, it seems that the Trump travel ban is a gift that keeps on giving. It followed up the initial advert with a seemingly vandalised ad with the word “Ban” doctored to say: “Bon Voyage” and the words “Fly to the US with RJ now that you’re allowed to” once the ban was blocked. The recent laptop ban has also provided fodder for Royal Jordanian, who has approached the situation with the same level of creativity.
Such techniques may seem risky, but if pitched at the right level of humour over serious issues, these situations can help companies stand out from the crowd. After all, laughter is the best way to deal with these crazy times.