Disgruntled customer buys promoted tweet slamming British Airways

Well here’s a first. 

After British Airways lost his father’s luggage and was unable to track it down, Hasan Syed let everybody know just how he felt about the airline by buying a promoted tweet on Twitter that said this:

This isn’t the first time a disgruntled customer has taken to social media to complain about a company, but it may be the first time they’ve spent money to do so. Olly Honess writing for The Wall Blog estimates Syed will likely pay anywhere between 5 cents and $5 per engagement (that is, every time his tweet gets retweeted, favorited or clicked on.) His tweet will display in Twitter’s UK and NYC markets.

With Facebook and now Twitter making it possible for pretty much anyone with a few bucks to advertise on them using self-serve platforms, it has definitely leveled the playing field when it comes to customers getting heard. It’s not just big corporations with tons of money who have access to communication channels, and that’s something brands should recognize. Of course it isn’t cheap for regular customers to have as wide a reach as brand advertisers, but they can definitely put a dent in a brand’s image. British Airways eventually did respond to Syed:

Looks like it responded pretty much the same way it would have if it was just a regular social media complaint, so maybe Syed didn’t have to spend all that money to get a response. But if his goal was to cause a massive amount of brand damage, with the news of his tweet going viral, he may have achieved exactly what he wanted.

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