A short-lived Twitter campaign by British Airways, aimed at enticing Americans to book flights to London, has backfired because it was perceived as being linked to Britain’s recent vote to leave the European Union.
The promotion of a three-day sale (now over), urged recipients to see “even more of London”. It used the line: “Your dollar has never gone further…”
Normally, that would cause no fuss, but this came in the wake of the US-dollar-to-pound exchange rate crashing to a 31-year low in favour of the US dollar after Britain’s historic vote.
Where it will end nobody knows but some financial analysts expect pound-to-US-dollar parity in coming months.
A lot of Twitter users saw BA’s Twitter campaign as indecently hasty, launched on 27 June just days after the momentous Brexit decision rocked markets around the world and spurred various credit rating agencies to downgrade Britain’s credit rating to AA from AAA and cut Britain’s outlook from stable to negative.
“Too soon, BA. Too soon,” wrote one Twitter user, and others agreed. “Horrendously tacky, turning the brexit market crash into a sales pitch,” wrote another.
Another: “No, your company is attempting to make $ off a tumultuous time & possible UK economic downturn. Your ad says enough. #Greed.”
Meanwhile, an American Twitter user with the wonderful title Fatman Da God had a more basic problem: “@British_Airways I just tried to book, and it ended up being $1000 in taxes. wtf?”
Someone at BA responded and was trying to steer Fatman Da God to another deal: “Taxes should be approx $677. We have some fantastic fares from Atlanta. You could book a ticket in our sale for $680.”
Airlines are generally steering clear of Brexit-themed deals, though Qantas got in fast with a promotion giving travellers triple Qantas points when booking eligible flights in economy between Sydney or Melbourne and London. See: Did Qantas have foreknowledge of Brexit result?
The Qantas promotion did not specifically mention Brexit. Then again, neither did BA’s Twitter campaign.
Written by Peter Needham