Thursday, November 10, 2011

How Ryanair Gets All the Media Attention

Jaunted: If you were going to do a chart of all the obnoxious ways that Irish LCC Ryanair tries to get media attention, first of all it would be an awkwardly large chart. Second, it would have to cover - at a minimum - the ads that are tasteless, the ads that are sexist, the ads that are sexist and tasteless. Then you would have to cover their heavy-handed intentionally sensational "news" announcements, which usually revolve around things they're never going to do and almost always involve bodily fluids. So bathroom fees and toilets, mostly.

Sex and pee pee. That's what their PR people usually bring to the table. And now, a new bodily fluid to add the chart: semen! How innovative. How risque.

Ryanair head Michael O'Leary took a break from telling Greece passengers that they could pay for flights with mountain goats - classy! - to announce that the airline was considering renting in-flight iPads. Except he didn't frame the announcement as being about iPads. Instead he talked about how passengers would be free to use their rented iPads to view porn.

Sure every women on the planet is already skeeved out by the idea that the guy next to her could be flipping through Playboy on the next long haul, which is something that actually happens. But Ryanair has a "bodily fluids" media playbook in place, so that's what they're going to talk about.

Now in fairness, it's undeniable that appealing to the lowest common denominator works. Ryanair's profits are up a full 20%, with traffic growing 12%, even though—and we can't emphasize this enough, so we're emphasizing it again with a news story from yesterday—they're not actually all that cheap. And that, boys and girls, is why we can't have nice things.

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