Malaysia Airlines on Tuesday quietly ended a promotional campaign in which it asked customers to pass along their “bucket lists,” in other words, the things they would most like to see or do before they die.
It was a bizarre misstep for the beleaguered Malaysia Airlines, which obviously needs all the marketing gimmicks it can muster to lure passengers back on board its planes — despite the fact that two bizarre catastrophes killed 537 Malaysia Airlines passengers in 2014. And there’s still four months to go in the year.
But why someone thought that a promotional contest entitled, “My Ultimate Bucket List,” would be a good idea remains unclear.
Limited to customers in Australia and New Zealand, two of Malaysia Airlines’ most important markets, the contest asked prospective passengers, “What and where would you like to tick off on your bucket list, and explain why?”
On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 somehow vanished without a trace with 239 passengers and crew on board. Believed to have crashed somewhere in the vast Indian Ocean, the flight’s fate, and that of the people on board, remains a total mystery despite a massive and ongoing multi-nation search effort.
But all 239 passengers are presumed dead.
Then on July 17, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists in that country. That plane was carrying 298 passengers. There were no survivors.
Given the startling fatality toll for Malaysia Airlines in a single year, a contest that in effect requires passengers to contemplate their own deaths appeared to be an ill-conceived idea.
The contest asked entrants to write a 500-word essay answering the above question about their “bucket lists.” The name “bucket list” derives from the phrase “kick the bucket.” In other words, a “bucket list” is comprised of all the experiences a person wishes to accumulate before he or she “kicks the bucket.”
Had the contest continued, 16 winners were to have received free economy class tickets on Malaysia Airlines, along with a free iPad. But rather than follow through, the company, without comment, removed all evidence of the “Bucket List” contest from its online site.
The Malaysia Airlines “Bucket List” promotion was supposed to have launched on Monday.