Social media marketing idiocy by Turkish Airlines

This is the most idiotic promotion I've seen in a long time

Every week I see dozens of attempts by marketers looking for quick ways to grow their fan base on social media networks. Many of these activities stem from misguided pressure from senior managers to “exploit the reach of social media” or, my personal favourite,  “make sure we’ve got more friends than our competitor”. I have sympathy for the junior marketers who are handed these challenges many of whom would question the logic of this approach if free from pressure from above, but that doesn’t excuse the marketing idiocy that sometimes emerges.

The latest example to hit my radar is from Turkish Airlines, “one of the most preferred leading European air carrier (sic) with global network coverage…” according to its Facebook page. Their latest promotion, El Clasico!,  offers one lucky person a prize of flights and tickets to watch FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, one of the most celebrated club football matches in the world. To win, you simply need to:

“Invite your friends to click the Like button in Turkish Airline’s (sic) page, [and] be the one who has the most number of friends who liked the page”.

What could be simpler?

Except, in order to enter you have to install the application in Facebook and give permission for the promoter to access some of your private information, your news feed, and to email you, and post to your wall:


But then it gets worse. You then have to (sorry, it’s compulsory) ‘Like’ the Turkish Airlines Facebook page:


…before agreeing to tell your friends that they too must ‘Like’  Turkish Airlines if you’re going to stand any chance of winning the prize. Bonus points are awarded for spamming your friends by sharing the competition on your Facebook wall and, get this, making sure your friends ‘Like’ the fact that you spammed them:


Oh, and the terms & conditions also point out that the prize doesn’t include departure taxes or Visa support, and that you must also complete the carefully hidden secret step of submitting your telephone numbers, email address, full name and birthday before being able to win. And you must fly from Istanbul to Barcelona and back. Hope that’s alright…

Is it just me or are we really witnessing a brand suicide on Facebook?

For the record: people who ‘Like’ your brand for the wrong motivations (e.g. I want a prize or a friend told me I had to like you) are not real fans of your business. They will not bring you commercial success, nor will they have any affinity to your brand in the long term. At best they may develop higher recall of your brand from your incessant spam, but they are highly unlikely to have increased propensity to buy from you. Spamming people is not nice and good social media marketing has nothing to do with having the most fake followers.

Promoter: Turkish Airlines
Agency: McCann Erickson (who should know better)