As I passively scrolled through my Twitter feed, I stumbled across a post regarding a situation that initially appeared somewhat passive. A few clicks later and I’m intrigued by a simple, yet subtly clever, PR move. For me, it is the fitting reminder that we, as PR practitioners, need to make the most of every opportunity regardless of whether it’s big or small. We shouldn’t overlook the potential within simple monotonous day-to-day situations that we all encounter.
The scenario: A young guy, George Armstrong, goes on a night out, gets drunk and loses his ID card. Standard. The outcome: A travel agency, Flight Centre UK, find his ID, return it to him and then some. You may ask yourself, how have these two managed to cross paths? Very simply. The travel agency had found his ID outside of their premises. They then took it upon themselves to post it back to George and most likely gave him a slight scare in the process of doing so.
Upon opening the letter, George was welcomed with his nicely laid out travel summary. It appeared that he had treated himself and booked flights from London Heathrow to the Maldives (#treatyoself). The following page thanked him for his custom and gave a subtle reminder that his rather modest balance of £5,289.87 would be due by the end of the week. However, he was finally put out of his misery when he came to the last page. It stated that the entire thing was just a joke and that they had simply found his ID outside of their premises. (Note the lovely ‘Just make sure you consider us for your next holiday. Take care!’ at the end).
Those who are inherent sticklers when it comes to grammar, can’t quite seem to get over the faux pas that was the incorrect use of the word you’re instead of your. For the rest of us mere mortals who saw past this faux pas, it was simply a kind act and an imaginative move all in one by the travel agency.
Flight Centre UK has somehow eloquently mixed humour with fear – not quite the same fear that George thought he’d suffer from after his night out on the town. Facts are boring; playing on emotions will spark true reactions and grab people’s attention. This example backs up that statement. Imagine if Flight Centre UK had have returned George’s ID and attached nothing else. Well, you don’t have to imagine because that passive act would have been just that. Dull. Boring.
Having just clicked back on the post, it appears that George has paid a visit to Flight Centre UK to meet the guy who made it all happen – Steve. Instead of robotically signing off the letter as an unnamed member of the team, Steve took the personal approach and simply used his first name. Everyone wants and appreciates that personal touch when dealing with corporations and particularly with bigger corporations. George appreciated his gesture so much so that he even got his photo taken with his new-found friend Steve. A happy, humorous ending to a simple mistake.
here’s the man himself, thank you Steve!
— will (@willarmstrong__) November 8, 2017
Louise Harvey is studying for an MSc in Communications and Public Relations with Advertising at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @louiseharvey_ // Instagram: @louiseharvey93 // LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/harveylouise/