Malaysia Airlines (KLSE:MAS), which has been struggling to attract business after two major airplane disasters this year, has changed the title of a new promotional campaign launched on Aug. 31, titled "My Ultimate Bucket List." The campaign, which asked customers to list out the things they would like to do before they die, had been severely criticized.
The ailing carrier announced prizes including free trips to Malaysia and iPads to winners of the promotional effort, which was launched in Australia and New Zealand. However, the effort was criticized for sounding insensitive in the wake of the disasters involving Flights MH370 and MH17, which together resulted in the loss of more than 500 lives. The campaign with the offending title was scheduled to run until Dec. 31 and ran with the caption “Bon voyage and good luck!”
The company, which has retained the contest under a different name, reportedly released a statement saying it did not seek to intentionally offend anyone. "The competition had been earlier approved as it was themed around a common phrase that is used in both countries," the airline said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The original competition had asked customers to buy a ticket with the airline and explain in 500 words, “What and where would you like to tick off on your bucket list, and explain why?”
In March, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people on board, triggering an unprecedented international search effort for the plane, which is yet to be found. In July, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down while it was flying over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Pro-Russian rebels fighting government forces in the region have been blamed for the attack, but the rebels have denied involvement in bringing down the passenger jet.
Users ridiculed the contest on social media, calling it a marketing disaster.
I'll tell you what's NOT on my bucket list - flying on Malaysia Airlines. http://t.co/Lu0uu37BAI
— Amy Sauertieg (@asauertieg) September 3, 2014
Something is seriously wrong with this airline: Malaysia Airlines bucket list contest http://t.co/vzDPsiukOn
— cindy gurmann (@cgurmann) September 2, 2014
— MT (@920401) August 30, 2014
Can there be a worst competition name than Malaysia Airlines (MAS)'s "My Ultimate Bucket List" competition... http://t.co/OiidSEtWki
— Mike Chin (@mikewlchin) August 31, 2014