Delta Air Lines Removes 'Creepy' Diet Coke Branded Napkins
Have you ever been on an airplane and thought, "Wow, this would really be a great dating opportunity for me. I'm going to get that person's phone number. Better yet, I'll give them mine unsolicited. But wait, I have nothing to write on! Curse this airplane and it's lack of appropriate vessels for my digits!"
If you have, the napkins Coca-Cola supplied Delta Air Lines would have been right up your alley. But, for the majority of Delta passengers, they were downright creepy.
Hey @Delta and @CocaCola These napkins are creepy AF. Pretty sure no one appreciated unsolicited phone numbers in the ‘good old days’ and they sure as heck don’t want the number of someone who has been gawking at them on a plane for hours today. Not a good look. pic.twitter.com/PJAiurFRMh
— ducksauz (@ducksauz) January 21, 2019
We get it. It's tough for brands to stand out, especially with something as seemingly innocuous as napkins on a commercial airline. You don't really think about napkins on a plane until turbulence knocks some ice onto your lap (or worse, hot coffee).
This should've been something Coca-Cola gave a little more thought to, though. There are ways to grab attention without coming off as creepy or pulling some awkward uncle "back in my day this was OK to do" stuff on a promotional product with its "old-school" idea.
To its credit, Delta saw its passengers' complaints as valid, and offered an apology.
"We rotate Coke products regularly as part of our brand partnership, but missed the mark with this one," Delta Air Lines said in a statement to USA Today. "We are sorry for that, and began removing the napkins from our aircraft in January."
Coca-Cola also took the L with some grace.
"We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended," it said in a statement. "We worked with our partners at Delta to begin removing the napkins last month and are replacing them with other designs."
Is it horrifically offensive? No, not really. Is it kind of creepy, and sort of extra for what it is? Totally. Like we said, there are plenty of ways to grab attention without resorting to antiquated methods of finding love that ultimately just amount to harassing someone in a metal cage they're trapped in with you for what can be as long as 12 hours.
— Mike J (@MJJoe) February 1, 2019
So, here's the lesson: Just like you can make jokes without it being at someone else's expense, you can make a promo item that touches on social life and every day occurrences without bordering on creepy. And, yes, people can still take jokes. That was never an issue. It's that these ad agencies can likely think of a better joke than one that involves encouraging passengers to give their phone numbers unsolicited while traveling.
Coke had it pretty correct with the "share a Coke" thing. Give someone a soda, not your number.