Shock news this week as ace reporter Vivian White and his august Panorma team exposed Ryan Air as…CHEAP!
Well, can you imagine the horror at Ryan Air towers?! “Save us, Mr O’Leary. Whatever will we do? Now the country has heard it from the BBC they’ll really believe our key message!”
What started out as a pretty pre-meditated attack to take team O’Leary and Ryan Air down a peg or two backfired horribly. The BBC came over as far more arrogant than Ryan Air which is quite an achievement in itself. White’s revulsion as he sat on the flight with “seats that don’t recline and a health and safety leaflet that is just stuck onto the seat in front” was palpable.
But hold on Vivian, surely if it is stuck on in front of you the safety message is IN YOUR FACE where it should be, not stowed under the seat never to see the light of day along with the £4.50 sandwich wrapper from the previous “on schedule” flight you accidently plugged whilst raining vitriol down on their heads from your ivory tower?
The patronising tone continued throughout and by the time O’Leary was doorstepped by White for a comment, the audience was (I suspect) aching for O’Leary to fight back and boy did he do just that. Treating the broadcast/er with contempt, O’Leary cheerfully volunteered to do a live interview so long as it wasn’t edited. Panorama refused. Hmmmm – right to reply?
So, O’Leary launched into a monologue about Ryan Air. “Cheapest”, “biggest”, “safest” etc, with White looking on incredulous. The problem was that most of the audience found it hilarious. They don’t enjoy flying in relative dis-comfort on Ryan Air and they hate the crush and the rush in the airport too. They probably don’t like O’Leary either normally but at that moment I dare say he earned some grudging fans and certainly delivered his key messages – that is a PR win guys.
It got worse too when White effectively criticised a chief executive for negotiating hard on costs with regards airports and aircraft. Oh no, a chief exec with his eye on his costs? Whatever next Vivian, don’t tell me Ryan Air’s gone and made that dirty word “profit”?
In conclusion, love them or loathe them, Ryan Air came out of the BBC hatchet job pretty much unscathed. We all knew they were cheap, somewhat tacky and that their chief exec can really get up people’s noses. What we didn’t all know was that they were also the safest and most punctual airline. I’m sure Ryan Air’s PR team will thank the BBC for that one for years to come.
The Press For Attention Prescription
Until a rival changes its offering and starts to compete on price, Ryan Air can continue annoying people and courting profits, not friends. For now, that includes the media. The media knows O’Leary and his motley crew will always guarantee a headline when news is slow and so does Ryan Air.
The problems with their PR approach and market offering will only come when they suddenly need to build bridges. Time will tell.
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