Tuesday, January 24, 2012

That sinking feeling

Why do companies make this so easy?

Here's a tip.

When your cruise ship sinks, traumatizing thousands of people and killing dozens more, after refunding their money, offering a 30% discount on their next booking is probably not going to get them back on board.

I get that the people at Costa Conciere Cruises would like those passengers to come back, but my guess is not too many of them will ever come within ten miles of the ocean, much less set foot on another ship ever again.

Making this offer at this time isn't just dumb. It's insulting and it's driving those passengers who may have accepted a more thoughtful offer right into the arms of the class-action lawyers.

So now not only is a legal tidal wave headed their way, they're also being swamped by bad publicity. And people in the general public who may have been considering cruising have gone from thinking, "Cruise ships may not be as safe as I thought." to, "Cruise ships may not be as safe as I thought and they're run by heartless bastards. I think I'll go to Club Med."

This isn't easy, but after the obvious step of refunding their passengers' money, executives at Costa Conciere should have done nothing but listen and help the people who made it off the ship get back to their lives as quickly as possible.

Excuses, explanations and half-hearted offers have only helped to make matters worse.

This is one of those rare cases where, when it comes to PR, the best thing to do was nothing.


  1. Chris SchellpfefferJanuary 24, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    The cruise line's execs needed to ask themselves how they'd want to be treated in the same situation. Sometimes leaders need to stop over-thinking and just follow the good old golden rule.

  2. Well, that's your view "From the Shore." Pretty safe vantage point, huh? JK. Thoughtful post.

    When I was at Networked Insights, social media analytics company, we would often do out own research into hot topics and pitch the results to media outlets. When the BP oil disaster hit, a lot of people wanted to analyze what BP's PR machine was doing right and wrong. But I wouldn't touch it w a 10-foot pole. Even the idea at that point that is was a PR problem was repugnant to most.