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Good and Bad PR: Qantas nails it

Good PR

The Australian airline Qantas Airways posted a tweet in the early hours of Monday morning (UK time) that quickly went viral. A 10-year-old boy named Alex Jacquot had allegedly written a letter to the CEO of Qantas asking for advice on running an airline, as the budding entrepreneur had set up Oceania Express and, in his role as CEO and co-founder, wanted to make sure he was doing everything right.

Of course, the 10-year-old doesn’t have a fleet of planes ready and waiting to get his business off the ground just yet (give him time), but he did say in his letter that he and his co-founder/vice CEO named Wolf (that’s the real story here), had already hired a CFO, head of IT, head of maintenance, head of on-board services and a head of legal (presumably his other mates from school).

Here’s the tweet that Qantas Airways put out to tell the world about the boy’s letter to CEO Alan Joyce and his reply:

Not only did this very quickly do the rounds on social media, but because of all the attention the tweet got (at the time of writing – 66k likes, 24k retweets and 1.6k comments) the media coverage soon followed. It’s so far been featured on the BBC, CNN, Mail Online, ABC, Forbes and more.

Everyone has praised the CEO for his lovely response and with the photo of the young lad proudly holding up the letter he received and beaming from ear to ear, there’s no reason to believe this is all a cleverly executed stunt, is there? Well, of course there’s always a chance. If you look at recent news about Qantas, there are stories of a flight losing pressure and having to divert, a nut allergy sufferer having to hide in the plane toilet because the cabin crew apparently “insisted” of serving almonds, and another one about complaints about carry-on baggage allowance forcing it to change policy.

With this in mind, it looks like a nice little exchange between its friendly CEO and an enthusiastic young airline founder was exactly the kind of good news Qantas needed. Real or not, it’s a good story and great PR.

Bad PR

As I’m sure many women have, I on many occasions have had to struggle into a pair of jeans in a changing room before that were apparently three sizes bigger than I really am, because the sizing is so drastically off that I’m forced to up the size. I can’t get my head around why a brand would want to make women feel bigger than their actual size, instead of just creating clothes that actually fit the standard sizes.

Well 18-year-old Chloe Martin from Scotland had a similar experience and decided to tweet a picture showing just how vast the difference in sizing was across the high street. She posted the photo of seven pairs of size 12 jeans all lined up, from George at Asda, New Look, Matalan, Pull & Bear and Bershka (two different pairs from two of the stores).

In the chain of replies, you’ll see that Chloe even goes on to describe how the very bottom pair pictured (Topshop’s Hallie jeans) fit her perfectly, yet the second pair from the top are too small (even though they look bigger).

One of the reasons behind this is that they may vary in style; high-waisted jeans will always be smaller around the button area, because they sit on the waist, not the hips. Topshop’s Hallie jeans are high-waisted, explaining why they look smaller. So whilst it’s easy to look at the photo and think this is terrible PR for Topshop (because the jeans appear so tiny in the image), they are actually probably the best pair judging by the fact they fit the size 12 wearer the best.

Regardless of the reasons why the jeans appear to be so different in the photo, the fact of the matter is that they are all different, even though they are meant to be a size 12 (and Chloe can vouch for that as a size 12 young woman who has tried them all on).

Whatever the case, all of these brands have now been pulled into the spotlight and a heated debate around women’s clothing sizes on the high street. Brands have been pulled up on their inconsistent sizing repeatedly in the past and many have signed up to Shape GB campaign, to standardise sizing; but this just further highlights the issues women face when shopping for clothes, which is less than ideal. When you consider the constant battles us gals face when it comes to body image and insecurities, the last thing you want is for a brand to be insinuating through their sizing that you’re a size 14 instead of the size 8-10 you can get away with in other shops.

With 1.2k comments, 112k retweets and 270k likes, Chloe’s tweet ended up getting picked up by the likes of the Metro, The Sun, Glamour, Prima, Grazia, Daily Mail and more. At the time of writing this, I didn’t see that any of the brands behind the jeans photographed had offered to comment.

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis @ShazzaYeti on Twitter. Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or on email

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