Our Apologies

On January 15, Adrants posted a depiction of the downed US Airways plane as a Virgin America ad. Certain topics are fodder for humor. This is not one of them. Our endorsement and depiction of the downed US Airways plane as a Virgin America ad was inappropriate. The posting was in poor taste, we were remiss in drawing further attention to it and corroborating it without checking our facts. As a result, we want to offer our apologies to the crew, passengers, families of US Air Flight1549 for making light of this accident. It is clear that Virgin America had nothing to do with the original false ad and that they and the entire airline industry takes issues of safety very seriously.

by Steve Hall    Feb- 1-09   Click to Comment   
Topic: Announcements   

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I hear lawyers.

Posted by: Nik Daum on January 31, 2009 1:32 AM

Umm I believe this would fall in line with a possible "out of court settlement" rather than a plee to not be sued.....

They were in their rights to post whatever they please but when it comes down to reality, I beg you to find anyone shy of Larry Flynt who would cater to the whims of a frivolous (and eventually expensive) lawsuit just to support their 1st amendment rights.

In this situation, and knowing both Angela and Steve personally, I can assure you that the two seconds it took them to write this apology letter reflecting the sympathies held by both the affected brand and the families involved pales in comparison to the amount of time, effort and money that would be involved to carry this case to court. Quiet frankly it would probably have been dismissed by the judge upon reading the TOS/Disclaimer associated with the site.
As far as i'm concerned, you can chalk this one up as however you'd like: a class act on their part or simply a way for them to quickly be able to move on to more important things.... posting ads with T&A.

Posted by: Bren on January 31, 2009 4:08 AM

For a company so involved in social media (Twitter, blogs, etc) Virgin America showed extreme tone-deafness when responding to AdRants' original post, which clearly made the point that the ad was likely fake.

Brand Reputation Management, unexacting science that it is, called for VA to engage with Steve and Angela. What's that word we love to throw around lately? CONVERSATION?

VA's knee-jerk lawsuit and the subsequent chatter in the trade pubs, blogs and Twitter stream did far more damage and "defamation" to the brand than did a short post that would've quickly been buried in newer posts had VA just said, "Um...that's not our ad and we don't find it funny. We're talking about lives."

Posted by: Jetpacks on January 31, 2009 7:10 AM

The posting was WELL beyond poor taste. WOW, one commenter mentions , "the two seconds it took them to write this apology letter". Perhaps if they had spent two seconds considering the original posting (instead of the likely twenty seconds of self-congratulation at how incredibly witty, clever and intelligent they are), a higher level of brain activity would have halted this posting before it went public.

There are some things you just can't successfully make fun of, and air disasters are but one.

The two seconds expended to apologize is not enough, and were I making the decision, the lawyers would have been deployed much earlier.

To those of you who don't see the harm in what was done here, I suggest this type of episode is just another example of the dumbing down of America, under the guise of cleverness or expose.

And no, the "two second apology" does not got far enough, and yes I can take a joke. This was no joke. This was a self-congratulatory exercise that should have been deleted before it was posted.

Posted by: Allie on January 31, 2009 9:21 AM

“There are some things you just can't successfully make fun of, and air disasters are but one.”

Have to remember that one the next time someone makes a Titanic joke in reference to an impending disaster or “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” remark. Pretty sure America felt bad the day after those events too and would never joke about them. Time heals all wounds and writes great punchlines.

It’s a free speech issue over content some people found offensive. Problem is it would’ve cost a ton of money in court to prove Adrants right.

Posted by: bg on January 31, 2009 12:27 PM

Since when are air disasters not hilarious?

Posted by: Paul McEnany on January 31, 2009 7:06 PM

Oh, and that comment wasn't by Paul McEnany. I was posing as him because I don't want to be sued. But now I feel bad for throwing Paul under the bus.

Please don't sue me, Allie. I agree, jokes aren't funny.

Posted by: Not Paul McEnany on January 31, 2009 7:13 PM

Nobody died. The pilot hurt his finger. This was no "disaster," and it was as innocuous as a fender bender. Some expensive airline equipment got damaged. Why would anyone be offended, other than a few birdwatchers?

That said, the "ad parody" wasn't particularly funny. (Kind of an obvious joke.) And anyone with a third of a brain would know it wasn't a real ad. This is the knee-jerk reaction of an hourly-billed lawyer. Virgin should be ashamed of itself, not Adrants. The world needs more jokes and less lawyers.

Posted by: sixtoe on January 31, 2009 9:09 PM

What's more offensive, a mild ad parody, or a corporation named after a young woman whose maidenhead has yet to be penetrated by a penis?

Posted by: sartomer17 on January 31, 2009 9:16 PM

Mr. Not Paul McEnany, too late. Please check your email. We take all blog comments seriously.

Posted by: Not Denny Crane on January 31, 2009 9:35 PM

Wow people are sensitive, all came out good and no one can make lite of it.

Posted by: Corey Frisbee on January 31, 2009 9:35 PM

Well I did tell you exactly this at the time you posted the unpleasant thing. :( You guys ought to trust us anonymous d-bags more often.

Did Virgin really get legally involved?

Posted by: B on January 31, 2009 11:53 PM

I find it funny that the people that are so offended by plane crash comments always act so ABOVE everyone else. Allie like to comment when you drop down to the depths of free speech.

Posted by: Not Allie's Friend on February 1, 2009 12:54 AM

This was an opportunity, Virgin America. This was your chance to say publicly that you had nothing to do with this ad and that while you can appreciate the obvious and fervent loyalty to your brand that this fake ad displayed, it was in poor taste. It was your chance to publicly commend the pilot's heroism and reaffirm your commitment to providing similar safety on your own airline.

Then the buzz on the blogs would about what decent folks you all are and how you were smart enough to ask politely for a take down and a chance to voice your opinions openly.

Instead the blogs are abuzz with what asses you have been. Good job. This is why marketing should always have at least an intern camped outside of the legal department's offices.

Posted by: Bob Knorpp on February 1, 2009 12:12 PM

Sorry folks. It seems to be you who are the smug ones here. I doubt the folks affected by the Titanic would appreciate jokes about it a week later. "As innocuous as a fender bender"? Get real. People were making their final peace in those few minutes.

At what point do you draw the line? Cancer? Mutilation? A parody of someone capitalizing on disaster is in very very poor taste.

As I said earlier, if it took them "two seconds" to write this apology, why didn't they use a minute to think twice about what they were doing?

And Mr. Knorpp: get real! An "opportunity to "reaffirm your commitment to providing similar safety on your own airline"? They would have been publicly blasted if they'd done something as inane as that.

Posted by: Allie on February 1, 2009 3:10 PM

"At what point do you draw the line? Cancer?"

My mother died of cancer last year. Want to hear some really good canger jokes? I did and shared them with my mother and she enjoyed them enormously. It brought some light relief at a time it was most needed - for both me and her. It was also a way of diluting some of the gut-wrenching fear we were both experiencing. What better way dealing with your enemy than by laughing at it?

You see the difference is that they were jokes ABOUT cancer and jokes ABOUT having cancer - they were not personal insults intended to insult and cause distress to those WITH cancer.

I know that many people are unable to distinguish between the two and any promixity between and joke and tragedy is cause for horror at other people's insensitivity, but could I ask you to at least try to see the difference.


Posted by: Peter on February 2, 2009 6:21 AM

now that was a good joke.

Posted by: Frankie on February 2, 2009 11:15 AM

"What's more offensive, a mild ad parody, or a corporation named after a young woman whose maidenhead has yet to be penetrated by a penis?"

Excellent stuff! That comment has really made this whole deal for me.

By the way, there's a town called Maidenhead in Berkshire in the UK. I'm rounding up a posse of like-minded Puritans to spirit ourselves there on horseback, henceforth, forthwith, with a mind to sue for unnecessary cruelty twixt said town's authorities and all young maidens happening to be living in the vicinity.

Sue! Burn! Etc. etc.

P.S. Legal drones - there's TWO "N's" in Quinn

Posted by: Tom Quinn on February 2, 2009 1:39 PM

the ad was not inappropriate. it would me if someone had actually died. but since everyone was ok lets laugh about it.

Posted by: Jordan on February 2, 2009 3:31 PM

If people want to make a joke out of the Hudson landing, that is their prerogative. If they want to include the name of an unaffiliated business in that joke, and publish that joke in a public forum, that is where the trouble starts. In our litigious society, the average person would have considered that beforehand.

I don't find cancer funny, but if makes some sufferers feel better in a private setting, that's their business.

Sorry folks, but all your smug blathering doesn't convince the average person like me that this was entirely harmless. Glad you had a good laugh - God knows a narrowly missed tragedy is hysterical - to those with the sophistication of middler schoolers!

Posted by: allie on February 3, 2009 11:25 AM