Another month, another TV ad causes social media outrage, ends up getting pulled. In April it was the awful Pepsi spot about protest movements featuring Kendall Jenner. Last week it was McDonald’s and a commercial about a young lad who has lost his father and discusses his late dad with his mum over a filet-o- fish. Cue Twitter storm, more than 100 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, and a humble statement from McDonald’s saying it would “never happen again”.
British Airways' advertising and marketing has long held a special place in the public consciousness. Think soaring operatic music, aerial footage of a red, white and blue 'face' created by dozens of walking people, controversial artistic tailfins which upset Margaret Thatcher. The fame derives from the fact that air travel is (or at least was until recently) glamorous. It is also because BA has generally employed great advertising and PR people, of which there was big news on Friday.
The video of an Asian doctor being dragged forcefully down the aisle of a United Airlines plane will be burned into the media record of 2017 as a major reputational crisis. But some are already arguing that it won't affect the carrier's brand one iota.