The reaction to a large advertising campaign Southern Rail took out today suggests it may well have misjudged its audience.
The snappily named “Let’s strike back” campaign implored passengers to tweet the RMT union and tell it how rail strikes made them feel. It also suggested a hashtag for users to get involved with: #SouthernBackonTrack.
Twitter users duly used the hashtag and got it trending, but not quite for the purposes Southern had envisaged.
Some did reach out to RMT…
While another popular suggestion to get #SouthernBackOnTrack involved a different plan altogether:
Others took the campaign much more seriously:
… and took the chance to air some grievances – quite a lot of them in fact:
.@SouthernRailUK Have you been running one of Europe's most delayed and ineffective train services, all year, because of strikes?— Lady's Name Was Syusan Moore (@Mr_Ogrizovic) October 3, 2016
What the majority of Twitter users did agree on was that the campaign was a huge PR fail:
What a PR disaster!! Pity you didn't concentrate on running an efficient service rather than undermining your staff #SouthernBackOnTrack— Martin O'Neill (@DrNostromo) October 3, 2016