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AirAsia’s sexually charged ad meets online turbulence

AirAsia has removed a Facebook post which came under fire from netizens for being sexist. The caption on the Facebook post read “OMG! (tap to see)” over an animated picture of a woman who was holding two semi circles over her chest.

With a tap, the image is revealed to be her holding the figure “99” to indicate the airline’s cheap fare with a caption  “You are not seeing things! 10,000 seats from RM99.”

In response to the incident, an AirAsia’s spokesperson told A+M that the team was aware of the “feedback received towards an advertisement posted on its Facebook page” and confirmed that the ad has since been removed “upon thorough review”. AirAsia also apologised for “the inconvenience caused by the advertisement.”

Several industry players A+M spoke to deemed this ad to be a “clickbait” and said consumers are not as easily baited into buying anymore. As such, these “distasteful sexually insinuating ads” really aren’t befitting of a well-known brand such as AirAsia.

One ECD speaking to Marketing under anonymity said that given how AirAsia is already effective in creating ads to build on its business and democratise travel, this was not necessary. However, he added that even big brands have “their fair share of mistakes from time to time” and as such, this will not prove to be a stain they cannot remove.

He added, in today’s day and age, sexism is “no-no and there is a growing awareness on it”. As such, brands need to avoid running ads which could create controversy.

Chan Woei Hern, Ensemble’s ECD said, the airline was wise to delete the post quickly upon receiving the negative comments from netizens.

“AirAsia removed the offensive post, and reacted quickly by apologising to the press which was a good move,” Chan said. Chan added it would also be great if a brand could roll with the punches and come up with a humorous apology. But that said, he acknowledged that the pressure could be “immense, KPIs intense and the timing is tight for the social team.”

(Photo courtesy: D. Kanyakumari)

 
Venus Hew

Marketing Magazine Singapore
Brimming with high energy, Venus Hew is passionate about topics such as digital, social media, e-commerce, hospitality, airlines and brand marketing. An avid traveler, with a penchant for singing and hosting, Venus enjoys connecting with individuals from all walks of life. She unwinds by spending time with her loved ones and watching movies on Netflix.

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