Lufthansa must be feeling a little uncomfortable and ‘out of the loop’ with its marketing messages. It sent out an email to several hundred thousand Lufthansa customers in Norway offering great deals on flights to Cairo.
Cairo is currently in the news for reasons other than tourism. The Egyptian army is in crisis talks. It set a deadline for President Mohammed Morsi to respond to the ultimatum to “meet the demands of the people” or face military intervention.
The advert on the Lufthansa website said. ‘Enjoy the wild side of life’. Cairo from 2995 kr. The company has now pulled the campaign.
“This is both highly inappropriate and very uncomfortable”, said Lufthansa's communications director Martin Rieck talking to VG in Norway. He is working with the marketing team to remove the services from the Lufthansa site.
This has obviously been caused by human error. Marketing teams plan campaigns well in advance. This particular campaign will have been organised weeks ahead. The website page and images would have been created and the content of the email written and okayed.
The mailshot would have been prepped and scheduled to go out on the email blast days ago -- before the events of the weekend unfolded. The automated email slipped out without anyone noticing that this particular offer was inappropriate time-wise.
But there should always be a human checking the automated messages for when events unfurl such as this. The Durex SOS Condoms campaign got out of hand when the community chose to decide on which town would receive a condom delivery service.
Benadryl in the UK also fell foul of community pranksters when it allowed people to tag pollen hotspots. The Drum has an image of hotspots across London spelling out the f-bomb.
Now Benadryl has stopped anyone from uploading and tagging pollen reports. the site now displays an image with pollen tags spelling ‘Thanks’.
Marketing campaigns are planned, designed, executed well in advance. Campaigns go live, web pages appear at automated times to suit the brand schedule. There is something to be said for automation in marketing.
It makes things simple. The marketing team can work on future campaigns, lining them up for automated delivery.
But with issues often unfurling at mouse click speed a little human intervention might prevent the PR issues that do little for the brand..