EasyJet – a six part lesson in social media and how to contain bad news

Photo by Christopher Doyle

Photo by Christopher Doyle

So here’s the situation: it’s Christmas Eve, and you know that you are going to cancel all your flights that day to and from a particular location. Cue hundreds of unhappy passengers. As you as an airline don’t fly anywhere on Christmas Day, these passengers have to spend Christmas in an airport hotel and travel on the 26th – not the Christmas present anyone wanted.

EasyJet, a top European budget airline, had just this problem when it cancelled all flights to and from Madeira, the Portuguese island, this Christmas Eve, disappointing hundreds of hopeful passengers – families escaping for a break in search of the sun, Portuguese families going home for the festive break. Everyone had their own personal story to tell.

All corporate clients have things go wrong. So how did EasyJet cope?

It put in place a well oiled communications control process, made one bad public relations mistake, and then got the next bit right – sort of… Continue reading

When is a joke no longer a joke? When Kate Middleton and human tragedy is involved

Kate M MoD

The Duchess of Cambridge
Credit the MoD

We all know the story, but now it has happened we can stand back and look at the PR lessons. First, the story: on December 5th, two happy go lucky DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian at the hitherto unknown Sydney-based radio station 2Day FM, had their scoop of a lifetime – they managed to dupe an unsuspecting nurse in a hospital to put them through the ward where the Duchess of Cambridge was undergoing treatment for severe morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy. She is the future Queen Consort of England – unless there’s a Republican coup – and her progeny will be the future King or Queen of England depending on sex. Continue reading

Petraeus’ tactical retreat: an almost flawless execution

Gen. David Petraeus
Photo by Hector Alejandro

Normally, nothing provokes more ludicrous and hysterical behaviour from our public figures than sex scandals. Bill Clinton famously queried the definition of the word “is” to defend his contrary statements on Monica Lewinsky. Newt Gingrich used allegations made against him by a former wife to launch an uncharacteristically terse attack on CNN.

The Petraeus affair, in contrast, has so far managed to stay relatively clean-cut – at least for Petraeus himself. Continue reading