Last month, Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 from New York to Dallas made global news after engine failure and a blown-out window on the Boeing 737 forced an emergency landing. However, the tragedy itself (including the fatal injuries suffered by Jennifer Riordan of Albuquerque, New Mexico) seemed relegated to a secondary headline.
More prevalent across all news media was the (mid-tragedy) social media post of passenger Marty Martinez, depicting the majority of passengers mis-using their oxygen masks.
By failing to cover both their mouths AND noses, they were exposing themselves to the dangerous effects of Hypoxia which could include dizziness, reduced vision, impaired judgment, unconsciousness or even death.
While most criticized the passengers themselves for failing to know proper safety protocol (as per instructions offered prior to every flight) Southwest Airlines received a fair amount of negative judgment, as well. Reinvigorating the hashtag #YoureDoingItWrong, countless sources (both personal and professional) took to social media to scold SouthwestAnd (as one might expect from any airline that offers a boarding process not entirely dissimilar from the opening of a Black Friday sale) Southwest’s response in the weeks past have been less-than ‘well thought-out’.
Or was it brilliant?
If you follow Southwest on social media, you might be familiar with their recent (and frankly #Savage) taunting of other well-known global brands, almost as if they were “making lemons out of lemonade”. Calling out everyone from @CocaCola to @VictoriasSecret, @SouthwestAir is rebranding itself for a more snarky and sarcastic generation.
@SouthwestAir called out @VictoriasSecret for #DoingItWrong after singer Ariana Grande got smacked by a pair of wings…
Or when @SouthwestAir called out @McDonalds for #DoingItWrong, implying that their famous mascot may have been responsible for some questionable publicity.
Or when @SouthwestAir called out (what appeared to be) a new campaign from @CocaCola which is, not only #DoingItWrong, but for what might be some bad sponsorship choices by Ariana Grande’s management team.
So kudos to whomever the brainchild is behind Southwest’s media campaign. It almost makes us feel better about taking a window seat by the wing on a cross-country flight.
I mean sure, a woman died. And sure, it’s a damning indictment on the distracting nature of electronics and passengers’ ability to take responsibility for their own safety. And of course this puts added pressure on the airline industry to step up their game, but…