Has the Malaysia Airlines marketing department lost the plot?


I was shocked to see this ad appear on my Facebook page this morning.

Poorly conceived ads like this are terribly insensitive
Poorly conceived ads like this are terribly insensitive

Is anyone in control of marketing at Malaysia Airlines at the moment or has the transition to the new company already started? At the same time as the world’s media is showing terribly sad but dignified video and images of the crew of MH17 returning to Malaysia in flag draped coffins, the airline’s marketing department launches an advertising campaign with a grammatically incorrect tagline telling us flying with Malaysia Airlines is fun.

Are they mad? Does the marketing team really think they can convince us that the experience of flying MAS is going to be fun? Should they be trying to do that? Do they think they can change global perceptions of MAS with a grammatically incorrect tagline? Actually they are not trying to change perceptions, they are trying to change reality, with ads! Not only is it offensive, it is ignorant and they really should know better.

This is the second poorly conceived tactical ad MAS has released online in the last month and it smacks of desperation. There is enormous pressure on the management at MAS but they need to get their act together and start rebuilding the brand and not simply throw out poorly thought out tactical ads or what I can only assume are seen as quick fix solutions. The rebuilding of the brand will start by rebuilding trust and faith in the brand but not with this rubbish.

Hardly a compelling tagline or call to action
Hardly a compelling tagline or call to action

Last year, when JWT India created an offensive ad featuring Silvio Berlusconi in a Ford Figo with girls bound, gagged and crying in the boot of his car JWT fired the executives responsible and Ford apologized.

Tasteless Ford ad forces agency to sack executive
Tasteless Ford ad forces agency to sack executive

MAS doesn’t need to apologise but the management must reevaluate their marketing team and their ad agency needs to fire the clowns who created this nonsense.

Then the managment needs to understand that rebuilding the reputation of the brand is a strategic initiative and not a tacticial one. And the CEO needs to have his finger on the brand pulse otherwise this sort of incompetence will continue and there will be a further erosion in the brand’s reputation.