A Qantas social media campaign has crashed and burned, following a backlash from consumers still angry about the recent grounding of the airline's entire fleet.
Less than a month after the grounding, which caused travel chaos across Australia and left 70,000 passengers stranded, and only a day after talks with unions fell through, Qantas was seeking to win back the public via Twitter.
"Ever wanted to experience Qantas First Class luxury? You could win a First Class gift pack feat. a luxury amenity kit and our famous QF PJs," Qantas tweeted on their @QantasAirlines account yesterday.
"To enter tell us 'What is your dream luxury inflight experience? (Be creative!)"
Entrants were to use the hash-tag #QantasLuxury - however the hash-tag was quickly used to vent against the recent actions of the airline.
"#QantasLuxury is bathing over an airport toilet with a bottle of water because you are stranded at the terminal..." Zane Clayton wrote.
"Getting from A to B without the plane being grounded or an engine catching fire," read another entry.
"#qantasluxury an airline that respects its staff. Pays them accordingly, doesn't outsource their jobs or lock them out when they strike," Martin Milne wrote.
The competition was also quickly mocked in a YouTube parody of the scene in Downfall where Hitler loses his rag, with Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce playing the role of the Fuhrer.
The #QantasLuxury hash-tag was soon a trending topic in Australia - which would usually be considered a marketing coup, however most posts about the giveaway were slating the timing of the competition.
A spokeswoman told The Australian the competition "was part of our ongoing social media strategy".
"A number of people have legitimately entered the competition," she said.
Social media consultant Shannon Smith from PowerBoard it was not a case of any publicity is good publicity, as people were actually attacking the company's product.
"They've underestimated the damage that has been done to their brand (by the groundings) and how long it will take for their customers to get over it."
- Herald Online staff