When hashtags go wrong – the current #QantasLuxury fail.



We have just received news that Qantas is currently experiencing a ‘hashtag backlash’ as a part of their new social media campaign.



Breaking it down


The troubled airline has been facing a PR disaster, in light of recent union/employee wars, exploding engines and of course, its grounding of the fleet. In addition to this, the airline was recently forced to apologise for running a Twitter campaign in which it gave sports fans free tickets for going black face.

A few hours ago, the airline launched a Twitter campaign giving followers the chance to win a first class gift pack. To win, contestants had to respond to the question “What is your dream luxury in-flight experience” and had to include #QantasLuxury in the response.



The result


A complete backlash. In light of all their recent disasters, angry customers used this competition, and even worse, the hashtag to vent about the airlines recent failures. Some examples of responses are below:

Getting from A to B without the plane being grounded or an engine catching fire

#QantasLuxury is a complimentary cheap hotel room because your cynical airway left you stranded in Adelaide, of all places. Adelaide.

#QantasLuxury is a massive executive bonus while your workers starve and your former customers choke


More than 3mins notice that the whole service has been grounded #QantasLuxury


Flights that leave on schedule because Management doesn’t arbitrarily shut down the airline #QantasLuxury




Problem indeed.



The lesson?


Social media is not always the answer. Particularly when your brand is in the midst of multiple crises.


A Twitter competition about Qantas’ quality of service in the midst of the PR juggernaut that Qantas is experiencing was not exactly the smartest answer to its problems. It seems as though this competition was a way of deterring away from the negative media surrounding Qantas, but it clearly backlashed.

And unfortunately, for Qantas, the unofficial Twitter motto is ‘If you can’t beat em, join em’ – once the trend has started, there is no backing down.



It’s important to learn from Qantas’ mistakes. Often, companies will take social media for granted and some companies believe social media is the answer to their problems, whether it be reputation or sales.


It is important to remember the unique features of social media networks to determine if a social media campaign is right for your brand. In this case, the honest and instantaneous nature of Twitter was not a benefit for Qantas. This, combined with poor timing, is the reason why the #QantasLuxury campaign didn’t work out.



We hope that the iconic Aussie airline can figure things out soon!



Love, Tash and The Stormettes xxx

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