Man takes out Twitter ad to complain about British Airways for losing luggage

September 12, 2013 8:29:43 AM PDT
Call it the new age David and Goliath. Recently, a man paid for a promoted tweet, complaining that an airline lost his father's luggage.

Rather than putting out a normal tweet for free, businessman Hasan Syed paid to complain about British Airways customer service. Now many are asking, could this change the way consumers are fighting back? If a business rubbed you the wrong way, would you take an ad out on social media to complain?

"If I had the money to do so, yes," consumer Hannah Adair said.

"If somebody lost my stuff, I'd definitely be willing to pay money to get it back," Armond Adair said.

Sasha Fullelove said she likes the idea, too.

"Whatever it takes to get the job done," Fullelove said.

Social media strategist Crystal Washington believes this is only the beginning.

"Paying for ads, something that's usually used by companies, is something new," Washington said. "And now that one person has done it and gotten results, I think we're going to see more of it."

Washington says Syed paid around $1,000 for the promoted tweet to complain about British Airways. But who saw it?

"He actually did the UK, and New York markets. He had over 50,000 engagements, not to mention how many people are retweeting it, and talking about it. He had news coverage all over the world," Washington said.

He spent $1,000 and got over 76,000 impressions. Syed's estimated cost per engagement was 7 cents. British Airways eventually did find the luggage and acknowledged the paid tweet the following morning, stating they're a 9-to-5 operation.

According to social media expert Ashley Small, the airline didn't respond as quickly as they should have.

"It's really a 24/7 type of job. It's important to have someone monitoring it at all times. Because by the time they responded, it had already gone viral," she said.

Small adds this is a big wake-up call to many corporations.

"The everyday person can become a voice, become a brand, become a solid source for complaints, or whatever that may be," she said.

We reached out to British Airways for comment and they told us they list their hours of activity on their Twitter page for customers. They did eventually find the luggage; however, experts say Syed definitely got his point across.

How soon before we seen the next paid social media complaint? Only time will tell.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13


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