#QantasLuxury A Lesson in Social Media Brand Management

For social media strategists, the real lesson from #QantasLuxury is how the mainstream media will pounce on a social media disaster, writes Ryan Northover. 

Like war, no matter how good your social media strategy planning may be, things will always go awry as soon as the guns start firing.

When Qantas decided to launch a competition thought their Twitter account, they obviously failed to consider the hash tag they chose to run the giveaway, #qantasluxury, would be hijacked by snarky & sarcastic Twitter responses and launch and international press firestorm that would dominate the news cycle for an entire day.

Was this a watershed moment for social media strategists in what not to do?


Fair to say, Qantas should have considered the timing of their giveaway of 50 pairs of Qantas first-class pyjamas & luxury amenity kits, just a day after Union/Pilot/Qantas corporate wage negotiations broke down?


But the viral hash tag was just the beginning of a horror day for the Qantas marketing and social media team.

It’s one thing to be talked about by hundreds of thousands of Australian social media users in a negative light – it’s another disaster of “epic” proportions in itself for journalists from Sydney to Seattle to produced rushed articles from their newsroom desks, turning a story of social media mockery into international headline making hell fire.

Within an hour of the #qantasluxury competition hash hag being taken over by ironic, sarcastic, and at times mean spirited tweets by the always irreverent Australian Twitter community, the mainstream news media had pounced.

“Epic Fail” screamed headlines from Reuters.

“Qantas Twitter campaign takes nosedive,” said the ABC

“Qantas makes hash of Tweet campaign” said Fairfax websites.

@QantasAirways pushed back on the Twitdisaster: “Wow! Some very creative tweeps out there. Keep the entries coming #QantasWeHearYou”

But alas, it was too late.

A Qantas spokesperson was reached for comment: “We launched the #qantasluxury competition as part of our ongoing social media strategy,” a Qantas spokesperson was quoted by News Limited.

“The competition is giving away Qantas First Class pyjamas and amenity kits and a number of people have legitimately entered the competition.

“A large number of our customers were disrupted and inconvenienced by the recent industrial action and fleet grounding, however services have returned to normal and our customers can book flights with absolute confidence that they will not be disrupted by industrial action.”

The real story from this ill-timed social media stuff-up is not what happened on Twitter, but how the media so eagerly pounced on the story in as big a way as an Alan Joyce flight grounding.

The real lesson for social media strategist is the main stream media is watching, and editors are more willing than ever to promote social media disasters to the top story.

The moment you lose control on social media is the moment you lose control of the entire brand message.

Ryan is an Account Manager at Socialite Media.

Ryan Northover on Twitter

Picture credit: @kellulz

1 Comment

  1. Once again we are left to wonder if there is truly any strategy going on at Qantas. A whole lot of tactics, yes, but where’s the strategy?

    And, I daresay, the Qantas spokesperson quoted here is going to rue the day he or she made the remarks “our customers can book flights with absolute confidence that they will not be disrupted by industrial action.”

    There is no way QF can guarantee and back up this statement. Perhaps for the immediate future while Work Fair Australia temporarily oversees matters. But certainly not for the longer term and certainly not on a global basis. It’s another silly statement that will come back to haunt the sometimes flying Kangaroo.

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