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Malaysia Airlines has bowed to public pressure to withdraw a marketing campaign that asked customers to write a bucket list for a competition.
Titled My Ultimate Bucket List, it asked Australian and New Zealand customers to compile a list of things they would like to do before they die, with the prospect of winning free economy tickets or an iPad.
A social media outcry forced the troubled airline to withdraw its campaign, which in turn caused extensive international media coverage, with publications such as The Daily Mail, Time, The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald and The Telegraph picking up the story.
This year Malaysia Airlines has suffered the unprecedented loss of two of its planes.
Flight MH370 disappeared with 239 passengers as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March, and has yet to be located.
Flight MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Ukraine on 17 July, with all 298 people on board killed.
Danica Weeks, wife of New Zealander Paul Weeks, who was a passenger on MH370, has slammed the marketing campaign, according to TVNZ.
Contestants were asked: “What and where would you like to tick off from your bucket list?”
The website page for the competition has been removed, with a 404 error occurring.
The airline is facing severe financial woes and 6000 jobs have been lost. In the second quarter it reported a 307RM million loss (NZD 115 million) and in the first quarter it reported a 750RM million loss (NZD 283 million).
In a media release from Malaysia Airlines via Crossman Communications, Australia the airline said:
Malaysia Airlines’ has withdrawn the title of a recent competition running in Australia and New Zealand, as it is found to be inappropriate at this point in time.
The competition had earlier been approved as it was themed around a common phrase that is used in both countries. The airline appreciates and respects the sentiments of the public and in no way did it intend to offend any parties.
The competition is designed to inspire and encourage travellers to dream, plan and book their next holiday with Malaysia Airlines.
Malaysia Airlines declined NBR Online's request to release information as to who created the campaign.