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How not to run a Twitter campaign
Wed, 23rd Nov 2011
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Embattled Australian airline Qantas has demonstrated how not to run a Twitter campaign this week, in a move that shows the risks of poorly-planned social media strategy.

In a baffling decision, the airline’s PR team opted to run a campaign asking customers to submit their ‘dream luxury inflight experience’ via the hashtag #QantasLuxury, at a time when the company is embroiled in a bruising industrial dispute that has seen planes grounded and thousands of passengers’ travel plans disrupted.

The prize for the best entry was a toiletries kit and a pair of Qantas first-class pyjamas. However, people have predictably taken the opportunity to lambast the airline, with tweets such as:

- ‘Just knowing that a fair claim on conditions will be met with a disproportionate response from a despotic dictator like CEO #QantasLuxury’ - @rastas000

- ‘#QantasLuxury would be not having 5 flights in a row delayed on one trip’ - @chchrob

- ‘#QantasLuxury is that safe feeling that comes from knowing your pilots are wearing the correct coloured ties’ - @GrogsGamut

Qantas has been attempting to manage the disaster, posting tweets such as ‘At this rate our #QantasLuxury competition is going to take years to judge’ via its own @QantasAirways account.

However, the tweets have continued to roll in, including links to the inevitable Downfall video parody, and the airline faces an even longer road back to credibility.

The lesson? As one Twitter user, @chrisjrn put it, ‘Turns out you need customer goodwill in order for people to freely advertise with you’.

Otherwise Hitler could be talking about your company next.