Man dragged off a plane is marketing opportunity for some brands

When is soon too soon in social media marketing that uses the worst day a man had as the foundation of a Twitter joke?

Two brands are testing the question; one has already conceded defeat.

It’s called “newsjacking.” Companies try to take advantage of trending stories in the news. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Always it’s a risk.

Yesterday, a man was bloodied when pulled off a United Airlines jet. He didn’t do anything wrong, but he ended up dazed and bloodied.

Funny stuff, particularly if you’re a man who wasn’t dragged off an airplane.

The Minnesota Twins’ farm club — the Fort Myers Miracle — thinks so.


Trending stories are a tempting marketing peg. Last month, for example, Delta took advantage of United’s denial of boarding to teens wearing leggings. But nobody got hurt in that incident.

Delta, to its credit, stayed silent yesterday. With good reason.

Some brands are better at this. Merriam-Webster, the dictionary people, for example, is expert at online trolling/marketing.

But other brands are clumsy when given the opportunity.

A year ago, local Prince fans were near unanimously offended when many brands tried to take advantage of the death of the local hero.

Remember this one?


Summit Beer tried its hand at taking advantage of the news, posting a tweet showing a flight of beers and the caption, “you won’t get kicked off this flight.”

Again, funny — particularly if you’ve had a few — until you think about whether this makes you chuckle.

To its credit, Summit reconsidered.

On the other hand, maybe Summit knows its audience, which took to Twitter and defended the brand saying people shouldn’t be so sensitive.

The brand, however, likely realized that the best way to tout a good taste is to show some.