Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Social Media Marketing Apologies - Uber vs Jet Blue

egg on your face! by bianca francesca
Image: egg on your face! by bianca francesca
You know you're having a bad day when you suggest an idea about a draconian-sounding "research" campaign on journalists' backgrounds at a private dinner party and then:

Uber CEO issues 13-part Twitter apology, clarifies data privacy policy

Here's an excerpt of what Kurtis Lee of the LA Times said:
The CEO of the ride-sharing company Uber offered a lengthy 13-part apology on Twitter on Tuesday as the company attempted to quell fallout over comments made by an executive who suggested targeting critical journalists.

NBC News said: Uber CEO Tweets Apology for VP Emil Michael's 'Terrible' Comments

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took to Twitter on Tuesday to apologize for remarks made by an executive who suggested digging up dirt on journalists who write unflattering articles about the ride-sharing company. On Monday, Buzzfeed reported that Emil Michael, Uber's senior vice president for business, suggested at a private dinner that the company spend "a million dollars" to hire opposition researchers to look into the personal lives and families of journalists. His anger was particularly aimed at Sarah Lacy, editor of tech news site Pando Daily.
- You can see more analysis in the video at the NBC Tech News link above.
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But all of this reminds me a little of Jet Blue's apology video after passengers were stranded for 7-hours on the tarmac: JetBlue Issues Apology Over 7 Hour Tarmac Delay.

The original video apology appears to have been taken down, but excerpts from it can be seen in the ABC News story above.

At the time, the video apology was seen to be insincere and insufficient given the suffering of Jet Blue's passengers.

Just as the initial apology by Uber's exec appears to be interpreted now.

This was the conclusion of the ABC News story at the link above:
The incident comes four years after JetBlue issued its “Customer Bill of Rights,” following a February 2007 organizational meltdown that led to the cancellation and delay of a massive number of its flights. The series of cancellations, caused by a major Valentine’s Day storm, left passengers stranded on the tarmac for 11 hours before they were allowed back into the terminal.
The fallout from the incident led consumer rights groups to push for a government- mandated airline passenger Bill of Rights to protect flyers against similar experiences.
So maybe this is the type of regulatory reaction (or action) that Uber's trying to strategically avoid with their Twitter apologies.

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In any case, it all seems like "Oops!...I Did It Again".

As always, we'll wait and to see how all of this plays out in social media marketing.

What do you think? Will Uber's efforts to appease and/or re-charm the press be successful?

- By Karl Kasca, instructor UCLA Extension (@KarlKasca @UCLAextension)