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Good and Bad PR: Terrible for TripAdvisor, bunny fantastic for Ikea

Good PR

Wedding dress drama

These days, airlines are more likely to be on the receiving end of negative media coverage. Horror stories of lost luggage, cabin crew treating passengers badly and planes falling apart are far more common than heart-warming or positive tales.

Southwest Airlines in America managed to buck the trend of airlines behaving badly, by reuniting a passenger (Grayleigh Oppermann) who’d left her bridesmaid dress behind before jetting off from Houston, Texas, to her sister’s wedding in Costa Rica. The passenger in question hadn’t just left her bridesmaid dress in the airport, though… it was at home.

A friend of the forgetful bridesmaid tweeted the following message out, to try her luck and see if Southwest Airlines could help to save the day:

This attracted global attention and Southwest Airlines eventually quoted the tweet in response and said “Alright, let’s do it” – much to the delight of those monitoring the situation on social media to see what the outcome would be.

A friend of the bridesmaid and Taylor drove the bridesmaid dress to Hobby Airport in Houston the next morning where Southwest Airlines staff were waiting to load it onto the flight for a beautiful reunion with the forgetful bridesmaid in Costa Rica.

The airline tweeted updates with photos along the way and even let people track the journey of the dress on their website, which was a nice touch. The happy story ended up getting global coverage for the airline, scoring it major brownie points with the public.

Flat-pack bunny

In others news, Ikea has launched a flat-pack chocolate bunny for £2.95 that people can assemble themselves before eating in a brilliant little pre-Easter PR stunt. It quite rightly generated lots of coverage, on the likes of The Sun, HuffPost, Marie Claire, Fox News and plenty of others. And don’t worry, it’s only made of three pieces, so it won’t take you long to construct it before you indulge; certainly not as long as some of those Ikea flat-pack pieces of furniture anyway!

Bad PR

Sexual assault charges

TripAdvisor has been accused of failing hotel sexual assault victims, in a recent story that’s been picked up by the likes of The Guardian, Mashable, HuffPost and further afield.

The Guardian wrote up a report regarding two women who claimed that they had been raped by members of staff that worked for companies promoted on TripAdvisor. One was attacked by a tour guide from a business that was profiled on TripAdvisor and so she reached out to the site to tell them what had happened in the hope that she could warn and protect others.

However, she was allegedly asked to just leave a first-person review regarding the incident and her traumatic ordeal on the business page on TripAdvisor, which she said left her “in disbelief”.

TripAdvisor told the victim that it didn’t remove businesses from its website if employees were accused of sexual assault, not even whilst any investigations were ongoing.

As you can imagine, this story has brought TripAdvisor’s policies into the limelight and made people question the brand’s commitment to safeguarding the public.

A platform as influential and widely-used as TripAdvisor, which should largely be used to inform, but also ward off people from unsafe experiences, places or attractions, has a responsibility to ensure incidents like this are handled sensitively; which doesn’t seem to have been the case here.

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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