Scoot Off Message?

I’ve been part of a very interesting discussion about newsjacking on LinkedIn today – see links for an explanation of Newsjacking. Essentially, on the back of disgraced Briton’s (Anton Casey) horrible social media comments that went viral world-wide last week, Scoot thought it would be a good idea to offer a flight deal to Perth – “Escape Plan: Fly to Perth Cheap Cheap, Poor or Not” and then it features a cartoon of a “family” – which is obviously the Caseys.

Scoot Airlines
The image that appeared on Mumbrella Asia today

Anton Casey said some terrible things, and the fact he lost his job is quite right. We do not live in a world where that sort of attitude is acceptable and social media provides the perfect forum for comments like that to go far beyond anyone’s personal community. I abhor any racism or elitism, because we’re all just people doing the best we can, whether we were born with a silver spoon in our mouth or not – I happen to be a “not.”

However, the frightening thing about this scenario is how much the wife and five year old son have been attacked as well. Sure the Dad can be hauled over the coals, but a five year old boy? Let alone his wife.

Sure, she might not have the greatest taste in men, but this is now a family in extreme pain. I can only imagine that Anton Casey is learning one hell of a lesson right now, and it’s going to be a long time before he recovers from what he did – if he can at all. But my take on this whole situation is definitely more along these lines – “Where has our Empathy Gone?” written by William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement. I think I’m going to join.

Whatever happens to this family, Scoot jumping onto it and offering a promo deal that takes the mickey out of the Casey’s is beyond poor taste. The Oreo blackout at the Superbowl is a class act and world-best practise example of newsjacking. My colleagues issued this little Tweet when Apple announced its new iPhone color range.

Kudos to my colleagues for this one – it got lovely attention

That’s newsjacking.

A whole bunch of tweets and Facebook posts today linking brands to the Grammys? That’s newsjacking.

Scoot jumping on the back of a family’s pain and a country’s outrage? That’s not newsjacking. That’s just poor taste in my humble opinion.

So what have we learnt this week?

  • If you don’t have reasonable social judgment, social media probably isn’t a platform you should be engaging on. If you don’t know if you have good social judgment, I’ll give you a clue. If you regularly offend complete strangers or friends of friends at dinner parties, it’s probably best if you cancel your Facebook page
  • The law needs to look into these cases and get moving. A five year old boy should not be featured on the front page of any forum. Equally, the global sharing of an individual’s personal address, phone number, work address, colleagues email addresses, etc… well that doesn’t seem right either
  • If someone makes an ass of themselves, let’s leave the kids out of it. A child cannot help who their parents are
  • There is no privacy anymore. If you want to make judgmental comments – great, knock yourself out – but when your comments go viral, you now have unequivocal evidence that it’s not pretty. And let’s not forget there are hundreds of thousands of Anton Casey’s out there, he just happened to get caught
  • But more importantly, Brands need to really think about when it is OK to jump onto a newsjacking opportunity. Scoot was definitely off message for me this week, and they started off so well.

What else do you think we’ve learnt? Or do you think it’s OK that Scoot newsjacked this story?



PS: apparently Scoot took this campaign down pretty quickly today, but I wonder if we’ll see another sacking?

PPS: the irony is not lost on me that I am now newsjacking a newsjacking…

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