Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Friday, February 08, 2019 1:00 am

Delta, Coke sorry for napkin stunt

Meagan Flynn | Washington Post

Falling in love on an airplane is the kind of story you only ever hear in a bar or see in a Lifetime movie. But for a brief time this winter, Delta Air Lines wanted to help passengers make it a reality – by gently nudging them to hit on other passengers.

With cocktail napkins.

“Be a little old school,” said the small print on the napkin, advertising Diet Coke. “Write down your number & give it to your plane crush. You never know ...”

There was a little space on the napkin where flirtatious passengers could write down their name and another space for their number.

But while some found the napkins clever and charming, others thought they were creepy. In fact, evidently enough complained that Delta and Coca-Cola apologized for the marketing stunt Wednesday.

“We rotate Coke products regularly as part of our brand partnership, but missed the mark with this one,” Delta said in a statement. 

Coca-Cola said in a statement, “We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended,” adding that the napkins are being replaced with other designs.

The ill-conceived napkins are the latest ad campaign to stir complaints on social media after marketers were accused of being inappropriate, racist or sexist.

In March, Heineken had to apologize for its “sometimes lighter is better” beer ad, which critics called racist because a light beer slides across the bar, bypassing several black people, until arriving in front of a white woman. In October, an Australian hotel apologized for an ad featuring a man and woman eating breakfast in bed, which was called sexist because the man was reading a financial newspaper whereas the woman dug her nose into a Chanel coffee-table book.