Best Social Responses to Company Gaffs

By Banc Digital

3 min read


Ryanair’s social decorum was tested earlier this year, after its ground crew were spotted carving a not-so-angelic snow angel at Dublin airport.

With the care, accuracy and professionalism of a classroom doodler, a rogue Ryanair baggage handler crafted a textbook todger in full view of the airport’s busy departure lounge.

The ten-foot member was photographed by a waiting passenger, who was quick to share the artwork on Twitter and Facebook. Here, it enjoyed numerous shares and retweets, prompting this response from Ryanair’s communications chief, Robin Kiely:

“While our ground crew excel at industry leading 25 minute turnarounds, art isn’t their forte, as they’ve clearly forgotten to draw wings on their snow airplane.”

Kiely’s comeback was hailed as the perfect PR response by many in the media world, and highlights the importance of an on the fly and off the cuff social strategy.

Here are further examples of when a brand shot from the hip and turned a social calamity into PR gold.

Maker’s Mark Watered Down Whiskey Disaster

After announcing their intention to reduce the ABV of their flagship whiskey from 45 to 42 percent, Maker’s Mark received a tirade of abuse on Twitter and Facebook, with thousands calling for the move to be scrapped.

Makers Mark - Farm6

Realising their error, Maker’s Mark took to social media to make a very public U-turn, using “You spoke. We listened” as their mantra of regret.

It worked. The brand was applauded for listening to its customers, and the flub worked in their favour by salvaging company faith.

Tesla Takes Down New York Times

When John Broder wrote a negative review of Tesla’s Model S electric car for the New York Times, he probably gave himself a pat on the back and proceeded to make another brew – little did he know that Tesla would take it quite so to heart.

The car manufacturer initially voiced its wrath on Twitter, before publishing a full length, tactical takedown of Broder’s review on its blog.


Done poorly, Tesla could have cut off their nose to spite their face, but the clinical and proficient way in which they debunked Broder’s review left them the bigger man. It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.

Purolator Looks To Ancient Greeks For Tweet Inspiration

Canadian courier chain Purolator pulled out the literary gag book when faced with a sarcastic customer complaint on Twitter.

Lloyd Rang took to Twitter after he missed a Purolator delivery only to discover they’d sent his item to a pick-up centre forty minutes away rather than arrange redelivery. Rang also noticed the name on the ticket was closer to “Iliad” than “Lloyd”, and chose this as the basis for his Twitter assault.

Despite not aiming his tweet at the brand’s Twitter handle, Purolator stepped valiantly in, picking up on Rang’s Homer reference for an amusing bit of back-and-forth. Rang walked away happy albeit slightly bemused, and the brand demonstrated the benefits of being timely and humorous on social media.

Virgin Trains Toilet Trouble

Social aficionados Virgin Trains took customer service to new heights after a passenger travelling from Glasgow to London was left stranded in the loos with no toilet paper.

Far from apologising for the mishap and ensuring it doesn’t happen again, Virgin answered the poor soul’s plea and arranged for some tissue to be delivered to the corresponding coach where the unfortunate passenger was marooned.



The Boss Authorises the Number 2

Just minutes after the Tweet was posted, a Virgin Trains’ employee knocked on the door with a fresh roll of triple-ply – much to the delight of the passenger, who hailed the firm as the “BEST TRAIN SERVICE PROVIDER” for all the world to see.

For advice on how to formulate a bombproof content marketing strategy, give Banc Media a ring on 0845 459 0558 and we’ll be happy to help you achieve social media godliness. 

Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Farm6