PR Test: Why American Airlines Has it Wrong and Nestle Shows its Sweet Side for Animals
American Airlines just announced its new policy that they will be charging airline passengers between the ages of 5 to 14 flying alone a $150 surcharge – both ways. This policy starts Sept. 3 and is designed to “ensure the safest possible travel for youths” according to the airline.
“From my PR perspective, this is a sure-fire way to upset parents and turn away business; especially during a crucial third-quarter of the year standpoint.” says Jennifer Vickery, President of National Strategies Public Relations. “Typically, this is a time of year where companies must hone in on their major profit margins, not find ways to employ surcharges. This behavior typically signals to me a company who may not be doing well and is now looking for ways to make up for it.” continues Vickery. “Instead of charging the children flying alone, something that is already a great discomfort for many parents, why wouldn’t the airline seek alternative methods to increase profits, such as developing new community ties or at least offering additional services to the children traveling alone? Basically, they have explaining to do, as travelers are becoming increasingly fed-up with the ever escalating nickel and diming.”
Test score: FAIL
On another note, Nestle announced new animal welfare standards that should please many, from a public relations standpoint. “Whether you’re an animal advocate or not, Nestle is making headlines in all the right ways with what is being called ‘the most comprehensive and far reaching animal welfare policy of its kind,’ and it is sure to resonate with the consumer,” says Vickery.
“For Nestle, the world’s largest food company, to choose to only do business with farms that supply dairy, meat, poultry and eggs adhering to tighter welfare standards, this is huge,” explains Vickery. “Have you ever made concerned how the candy bar you pick out at the grocery store was made? Probably not. But this news subconsciously stays within the minds of consumers, and Nestle is such a large company that it can actually have a fundamental impact in welfare standards across the board and even across the world.”
“In a nutshell, consumers feel they are being overcharged by airlines and want to support brands that demonstrate corporate responsibility. Take these two examples into your business platform and see if you pass the PR test.”
Nestle’s test: PASS
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About Jennifer Vickery
Jennifer’s background is in national public relations campaigns where she oversees every aspect of PR strategy utilizing her 10+ years of senior experience. She’s worked for various national public relations clientele through every facet of PR. She has experience with writing a regular column for a newspaper, producing a health television segment, serving as a…