After tragedy struck two of its flights within a matter of months, Malaysia Airlines is now struggling to lure back timorous consumers. But its latest marketing initiative, an ill-conceived promotional contest entitled “My Ultimate Bucket List,” should serve as a cautionary tale for companies looking to steer through a PR catastrophe.
The competition, which was supposed to kick off yesterday but appears to have been promptly scrapped, asked users to describe “What and where would you like to tick off on your bucket list, and explain why?” in less than 500 characters.
A total of 16 winners in Australia and New Zealand would have received iPads and economy class tickets, according to the contest’s terms and conditions, which have since been removed from the Malaysia Airlines website but can be viewed in full here.
Though, thematically speaking, this represents a fairly standard promotional model, many media outlets were stunned that a company so recently associated with death would host a contest hinging upon the concept of a bucket list -- or the list of things one hopes to accomplish before dying.
A total of 537 total passengers died as a result of Malaysia Airlines’ Flight 370, which disappeared over the Indian Ocean, and Flight 17, which was shot down near the Russia-Ukraine border.
A botched promotion, however, may mark the least of the state-owned company’s concerns. Amid preexisting losses that have been compacted by the recent tragedies, Malaysia Airlines is now cutting 30 percent of its workforce -- a total of 6,000 jobs -- and receiving a $2 billion bailout from the Malaysian government, reports The New York Times.