Tuesday, March 03, 2009


The beauty and the danger of the Internet is that anyone can say anything and it can gain some element of credibility if enough people are willing to view it and then share it. Here is a prime example of a viral message that I have 14 links to this morning from a range of people within the PR industry, media as well as amused students and one anti-flying campaigner. The beauty is its simplicity, humour and believability; Ryanair's latest PR disaster is to suggest it may charge £1 to use the in-flight toilet on the basis that during a short flight there is no requirement to supply a free service - they did not get much good media coverage and the 'court of public opinion' was deemed to be unsupportive. The implications of the ability to create and share material are obvious and of course it does not have to be outraged customers or satirists. Who would benefit most from this: a competitor obviously. So if you want to 'dis' your opponent you need a viral Internet campaign - this may well be a feature of the forthcoming local and European Parliament election in June, after all all it takes is a little know-how, some cheap software, and a web user with access to a network. Anything could be influential in the new media age!


Mark Pack said...

I wonder if the media coverage really has been bad for them? At first glance, yes - but isn't it also reinforcing their image as a low-cost airline? Would anyone reading the coverage go away not thinking that their ticket prices are rock bottom?

Darren G Lilleker said...

Well true, I suppose the distinction is between low cost and squeezing every penny from customers. I guess, as demonstrated by the exchange via a blog recorded in this piece in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2009/feb/25/ryanair-socialnetworking), what Ryanair are in danger of being perceived as is an organisation governed by profits and not customer service and could be seen as being capable of cutting any corner to maintain their market position and so perhaps not as safe as their competitors. Just a thought!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was an obvious Ryanair publicity stunt- it got the name out there which is all they need. Everyone hates Michael O Leary, but that's part of the reputation he's built for himself in and out of the boardroom- he wants to be seen as ruthless, he wants column inches and he wants people talking about Ryanair- job done I think!