Victorian Taxis Association (VTA) has said it’s dropped its agency and plans to take full responsibility for its recent campaign, which saw hundreds of complaints about Melbourne taxis flood Twitter.
The campaign was launched early this week with the hashtag #YourTaxis. It asked users to share their stories about using Melbourne cabs. However, the issues came back thick and fast with many describing their horrifying and disgusting journeys.
Initially, VTA CEO David Samuel had stood by the campaign, saying they’d wanted to start a conversation and that it hadn’t been a “PR fail” as many had suggested.
However, from a new statement realeased last night, Samuel said the campaign “did not match our intention”.
“Our intention was to engage with the community and open a direct dialogue with customers about their experiences using Victorian taxi services so we could make genuine changes to improve the experience, safety and security for our customers,” said Samuel.
“Unfortunately, the YourTaxis campaign concept and its delivery did not match our intention. We were aware of many of the issues that passengers face but the campaign concept and delivery showed us the true extent of their concerns. We take full responsibility for the campaign and will be undertaking a full review of our strategy. As a result we have made the decision to part ways with our agency.
“Our focus is now on creating an action plan to address the issues that have been raised and be clear with customers about how this information will be used to improve taxi services in Victoria.
“I have asked for an immediate audit of the initiative to ensure that all passenger issues are captured and that all our future actions match our intentions.”
The YourTaxis account had also gotten in trouble again on Wednesday, when it tweeted about Remembrance Day and how many veterans use its cabs each day.
Needless to say, Twitter fired back pretty spectacularly.
When the debacle happened, James Wright, group COO at Havas and managing director at Red Agency, said as PRs, you always need to be thinking about how things like this could backfire.
“We need to look at how it might play out from all angles,” he said. “In doing so we should ask ourselves is this good timing for the brand to do this campaign? What is the intention and how could some people interpret it? Try to do some due diligence, do a test with some of your internal teams.
“I would always plan for hashtag hijacking, however unlikely as there is always someone or some group willing to have a go at you. Any hashtag can become a bashtag, so prepare for it.”