Fyfe tits, Listener tats

  • Digital
  • May 17, 2010
  • Ben Fahy
Fyfe tits, Listener tats

You get a feeling for the stories that will spark some debate on StopPress. And the story on Friday about Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe's rather original response to an editorial that was featured in last week's Listener was always going to be a bit of a doozy.

In the end, sentiment was fairly evenly split: some accused Fyfe and the airline of becoming arrogant; that it was becoming a "cult of personality". Others appreciated his cheeky, original, good-natured and almost playful response, happy in the knowledge that the media was getting a small dose of its own medicine.

Fair play to the Listener, too: it responded quickly to the print ads that Air New Zealand ran on Friday and the dearlistener.co.nz site with a full page ad of its own in the Weekend Herald, trumpeting the fact that an esteemed chap like Fyfe actually read the magazine.

But if the Listener can brag, so can we: Fyfe posted his own response to our story and the ensuing commentary and explained that there shouldn't be anything wrong with a passionate chief executive voicing his opinion and responding to claims in the media (particularly if it's done in a unique and interesting manner).

"We certainly don't want to become arrogant, but please allow us a little giggle and a laugh every now then," he wrote.

Tom Bates, one of two full-time social media staff members at Air New Zealand, was one of the speakers in a panel discussion at today's Social Media Junction conference and saw last week's experiment as something of a turning point for the company – and particularly for the use of social media as a communications tool within it.

He says it was the first time the newly meshed marketing and communications team, the PR department and social media boffins had been in the same room, working together to solve the same problem. In the past, something like this would probably have been handled with a letter to the editor from Fyfe that very few people would end up seeing. But Bates says this kind of response, which was created in just one day by the staff and the airline's agency .99, was all about acting quickly and personalising the brand, a constant theme at the first day of the conference.

Julien Smith, one of the keynote speakers, mentioned the importance of creating "social capital" with the networks of followers and fans: companies need to engage customers online by offering interesting and relevant content. It can't just be used as a marketing tool. Air New Zealand has done that and, whether or not you agree with some of the slightly controversial marketing content it's been creating recently, it has got the airline, which is still seen by the management as a challenger brand (at least in the international space), noticed. And doing things in a more irreverent way has helped build the size of its online channels and social networks, which means the airline's messages (and now the chief executive's cheeky responses) can be disseminated on its own terms, before those meddlesome journalists have their wicked way with them.

Added to that, as many of the speakers at the conference said, when you humanise a brand and offer customers engaging content to keep them interested, it somehow doesn't seem quite as rude when you send them all your marketing offers.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise

Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit