Sex scandal kills ad campaign

2011-08-14 13:54

Hong Kong - A sex scandal has forced Cathay Pacific to review a marketing campaign that bills the airline as "the team who go the extra mile to make you feel special," a company spokesperson said on Sunday.

The Hong Kong carrier launched an investigation last week after photos were published on the internet of a woman in a red outfit resembling its cabin crew uniform performing oral sex on a man, reportedly her boyfriend, on board.

Two Cathay employees subsequently left the company, but the embarrassing episode - which reportedly took place in the cockpit - has caused the airline to consider postponing its "People and Service" campaign.

"We are thinking of holding the campaign back for a little while because the timing doesn't suit us at the moment," said a spokesperson, noting that the "extra mile" slogan was launched it 2010.

The emergence of the sex photos is considered to have compromised the advertising campaign, where cabin crew and staff are to be featured on billboards and newspaper and magazine slots, a newspaper report said.

Bad timing

"The timing of this scandal really could not have been worse in marketing terms," a Cathay management source was quoted as telling the Sunday Morning Post.

"The scope for the slogan and the campaign to be misinterpreted, or ridiculed and lampooned, in light of the cockpit incident, is obvious."

The slogan was being used in online adverts on Sunday, although the spokesperson, citing confidentiality reasons, told AFP she could not disclose if it would subsequently be used on billboards or other advertising.

Cathay chief executive John Slosar said in a statement released late on Friday that two members of crew "shown in compromising situations" in the photographs "are no longer employees of the company."

It was not clear whether the pair were sacked or resigned voluntarily, as the airline said it would not disclose details.

The airline also refused to say whether the incident took place in the plane's cockpit, but said the investigation found no evidence to suggest the act happened on any of its flights while airborne.

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