US Airways’ unfortunate incident last week has the marketing world talking, predicting and weighing in with opinions on how to use or not use the event in future communications with the public.

This was a not all that uncommon occurence (birds in the engine) but with a dramatic, unique, and ultimately happy outcome (plane in river with no deaths or life-threatening injuries).  So, what should the US Airways folks do now?

On one hand, the crew and company did everything right, right?  So, wouldn’t they be justified to use this to their own advantage?  On the other hand, to do so will seem cheap and opportunistic for a corporation to take such advantage of an unfortunate accident.  However; the pilot and crew seemed to do everything right, if you read the reports.  So, are they allowed to use that in their marketing and branding as a way to say, “Fly with us, we’re safe, experienced and have proof.” Or, will that be a turn-off to potential customers?  To do nothing in this situation could be missing a huge opportunity, some will argue.

So, what do you think? As a consumer, what would you find acceptable in future promotions? What would  you think if nothing about this incident was referred to in future promotions?

For those of you in the field, is there some subtle middle ground where the US Airways marketing, branding and communications experts can indirectly and inconspicuously use this event in a tactful yet effective way to promote their brand?


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