It’s not hard to see when looking into the Hoover Flight fiasco that people won’t say no to the offer of free flights. Whether you are buying a Hoover for a flight to Spain or rugby tackling a stranger in the street, free flights are just too appealing.
So, what happened?
In August 2014, Jet2 announced a last minute location where staff members would be handing out envelopes containing tickets for free flights. Much to their dismay, the event soon got out of hand with no organisation or structure. The giveaway in Derby turned into a completely chaotic shambles and resulted in a number of people being injured.
Whilst the idea of the stunt is good in theory, in practice it is a big risk. Looking back on the past mistakes of Hoover, the company soon found itself in a complete mess when they had not anticipated the amount of people that would be willing to buy a Hoover in return for free flights. This little stunt resulted in Hoover paying out over £48m and having their reputation completely tarnished.
With Jet2, the idea is completely different. There was only so many tickets at a certain location, the cost would be set and the number of winners controlled. What they didn’t anticipate is the altercations of the limited tickets. What was meant to be a fun giveaway in a small town ended in injury with one of the women working for Jet2 being rugby tackled to the ground for a set of tickets!
How did they handle it?
When looking at the video footage that has been posted online of the “chaotic scuffle”, it really doesn’t look that bad. It isn’t a secret that some newspapers tend to overextend the truth and make things seem worse than they are. Having said that, it is still clear that this stunt was poorly put together and there should not have even been the opportunity for violence and chaos to occur.
You’d expect that Jet2 would have issued an apology, whether they felt that the event was out of hand or not, the press had painted it in such a way that action needed to be taken. Regardless of the company’s views of the event, the public were now being fed a very serious story of a violent occurrence at the hands of Jet2.
According to PR Week the only statement that was released from a Jet2 spokesperson was as follows:
“It’s the first time we’ve had a bit of a scuffle. A couple of people pushed a bit but most people had a very nice time. We can’t legislate for the crowd getting out of hand and we have never had a situation like this before.”
You can really hear the sincerity. The spokesperson went onto justify a response to the Derby council’s claims that they did not seek permission to carry out the stunt by stating that they were only there for 20 minutes. Not one apology was issued on Facebook following their post congratulating the winners either!
Obviously this little failed stunt hasn’t had any huge impact on Jet2, they’re one of the UK’s leading budget airlines and this stunt way way back in August. My issue with it is that the stunt was poorly organised and poorly executed and echoes a less damaging failure of the Hoover Flight Fiasco. When it comes to prizes such as flights, people will be extremely keen to win so why did the stunt not include this consideration?
Standing on the street asking the public to chase people for flights was hardly ever going to run smoothly? Whether I am just a pessimist or Jet2 missed the obvious, I’m not sure. Either way, when you’re offering up such a prize, maybe consider an approach that doesn’t encourage people to race and catch?