Thursday, 14 July 2022

Take out your earpods and listen!


Back in the last century, when such things were aspirational and fashionable, I was a high-flying young advertising executive. I have undoubtably been in the British Airways Executive Club more years than those runningit have been alive, and made it to the dizzy heights of Gold Card Level.

Things have changed, to state the obvious, but I still hang on in there in the club, clutching my meagre points in the hope of having a “free” glass of fizz next time I fly to the U.K. However, given the grim news on cancellations and airport chaos, I’m not sure I risk booking a flight, let alone one with BA.

What are my Executive Club friends doing, meanwhile? Sending out cheery newsletters. OK, we all need cheering up, and they must have enough data collected on me by now to be able to make some reasonable guesses about what kind of content might be the most cheering. 

A recent newsletter offered me “inspirational stories from LGBTQ+ writers and explorers” as well as “luxurious and remote desert hotels.” I was invited to “take a peek at family-friendly pads” and to do the “which cabin bag is right for you” quiz and fill it with “this season’s must-have travel essentials.”

The ghastly, cliche-ridden trash journalism style is bad enough (written by AI?) but as for an attempt at empathy or customer-centricity or whatever marketers are meant to be good at? It sounds as if they are writing for a not-so-bright 12-year-old with stinking rich parents. Which I’m not.

Equally dreadful is a recent email from P&O Ferries who say: “We’d love to still be your preferred ferry operator for your next trip, and are truly passionate about showing you all that travelling by sea has to offer on board our ships.” Like heck you are. Why would I be enanmoured of a ferry operator that sacks hundreds of its staff without consultation, then replaces them with desperate people paid peanuts?

I don’t want to take transparency to extremes and know every last little detail of corporate comings and goings, but surely people can be treated like adults? 

I breathed a sigh of relief when I got this from Lufthansa’s Executive Board. By no means perfect (these things never can be) but at least they are talking the right language:

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