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28/12/2009 by
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Luring Customers In Times Of Crisis

By now I’m sure you will have heard about the situation with Eurostar, the company which saw 2,000 people stranded in the Channel Tunnel as their trains broke down due to the bad weather. Eurostar’s social media agency, We Are Social, took a lot of flak for the bad, or lack of communications of the brand during this crisis.

As has been pointed out by many social media pundits alike, the responsibility solely lies with the company itself for failing to look beyond social media campaigns. But something else struck me as interesting about this situation….

P&O Ferries used Twitter and the crisis one of their competitors was facing to try and lure travelers to use their services. The P&O Twitter account promoted the following deal on the 21st of December:

Hundreds of #Eurostar passengers coming to @PO_Ferries at Dover as foot pax. Have set fares at lowest (£14) for time being to help out.”

Whilst this may seem very helpful and generous, it’s obviously a ploy to try and get people to switch brands.

But is it appropriate for a brand to make profit from the misery of thousands of people? And will P&O see any long term benefits from the short term switchers? Surely most people are deal seekers and will simply go with the cheapest alternative, with very little brand affinity and loyalty.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this guerilla tactic by P&O Ferries.

 

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Daan Jansonius
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