There are better ways to rebrand an airline.
On the heels of two catastrophic disasters, Malaysia Airlines launched a contest called “My Ultimate Bucket List”.
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Time magazine was the first to point out that the term 'bucket list' is typically used to refer to a list of things someone should do before they die, making it a poor choice of words for an airline that recently lost all of the passengers on flights MH17 and MH370.
The contest also comes after the airline announced that it was cutting nearly 30 per cent of its workforce as part of a restructuring plan to receive a bailout from the Malaysian government according to the New York Times.
The contest, open only to customers from Australia and New Zealand, asks entrants to submit 500 words on where they want to accomplish something on their bucket list. The prizes included a free economy class ticket to a destination in Malaysia and a free iPad.
It has almost doubled its commission payments to Australia-based travel agents to revive sales, according to Australian media reports.
Following a slew of negative press, the original link to the "Bucket List" contest had been removed from the airline's website. The contest was still being offered, with less fanfare, asking contestants to describe destinations and activities on their "to-do" list.
The carrier confirmed to Reuters that it has "withdrawn the title" of the contest since it was "found to be inappropriate".
"The competition had been earlier approved as it was themed around a common phrase that is used in both countries," MAS said in a statement.
It also added that it did not seek to intentionally offend any parties.
After past grisly tragedies, individual airlines have found ways to successfully rebrand.
After ValuJet Airlines Flight 592 crashed in 1996 into the Florida Everglades, killing 110 people, the company grounded its planes for months. In order to revamp its image with consumers, the company purchased a smaller airline called AirTran Airways and subsequently began using AirTran’s name to shake off the ValuJet stigma.
Maybe Malaysia Airlines should give their crisis manager a buzz.