A very interesting social media story out of the UK today, where we saw a man by the name of “Thomas Cook” leave a comment on “Thomas Cook” (the travel brands) Facebook page, saying that he had received years of ridicule for sharing the same name as the holiday company. He said as payment for his years of ridicule he asked Thomas Cook for a free holiday to Paris. (Read the full comment below)
Now what also happened is a company called “LowCostHolidays” saw this as an opportunity for a fantastic PR by giving “Thomas Cook” the free holiday to Paris. the brand experienced a great increase in Facebook likes and positive comments, every one is now asking for a free holiday too.
The tables have turned on Thomas Cook and customers are now leaving angry comments one in particular was “lowcostholidays, because no one wants to be Thomas Crooked” (refer to image below)
Now the funny thing is lowcost holidays ran a promotion on Reddit in the past where they were actually sued for asking people if they had been “Thomas Crooked” refer to article here.
This provides an interesting insight into brand management on social media, brands can look at it the following Options:
Option 1. You give the free holiday to the customer then every one wants a free holiday.
Option 2. You can see the chance to give a free holiday to a customer, lets say the holiday costs $800~ how much does media cost in today’s market?
Option 3. Even giving free flights to Paris to the customer as part of a PR stunt, lets say the cost is $200~.
If the brand has a huge media budget and PR, which I am sure Thomas Cook does, then these costs can some times be very small to the bottom line and can potentially provide a huge amount of positive buzz for the brand.
Overall I would possible advise the brand with option 2 depending on their PR budget, yet this is also an unfair case for thomas Cook I must admit their page managers are handing it quite well in terms of response to customers, but I also notice the original comment has now disappeared from the page.