Cockpit scandal grounds Cathay campaign

Cathay Pacific said it will place a two-month hold on the next phase of its global People and Service marketing campaign, in the wake of the expanding cockpit photo scandal.

Cathay Pacific spokeswoman Carolyn Leung told Marketing a decision had been to postpone the next wave of its global launch until 1 October “as the original timing doesn’t suit us.”

In what has become a snowballing PR crisis for the airline, newspaper, magazine and outdoor billboards spots have all been placed on hold.

This follows a statement from Cathay CEO John Slosar in which he confirmed that two members of its crew shown in compromising situations in photographs published recently in Chinese-language daily newspapers are no longer employees of the company.

“As Chief Executive of Cathay Pacific, let me be crystal clear about one thing: I find any behaviour that recklessly soils the reputation of our company or our team members as totally unacceptable,” his statement read.

Cathay’s corporate PR team said its People and Service campaign had been a “fantastic success since we launched it last year” and it was important to build on that success.

The campaign was created by McCann’s Cathay Pacific Central Team and uses the catchphrase “the team who go the extra mile to make you feel special.”

“We always build flexibility into our marketing strategy to give us room to adapt to changing circumstances. That’s what we are considering now, and the cost would be minimal.”

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