Watch CBS News

Virgin Atlantic's Food Complaint Was Excellent PR, Possible Hoax?

You've probably seen the complaint sent to Virgin Atlantic after one of its passengers was so disturbed by the food being served that he felt compelled to write a letter to Sir Richard Branson himself. I've seen it called the world's funniest complaint letter or the world's best. Personally, I didn't think it deserved all the press it got (have we forgotten the stink shield?), but it did make the rounds very quickly, and Virgin Atlantic was able to turn this into a major PR win, despite the rumors that it may have been a hoax.

People know that airplane food isn't great, so the letter wasn't anything truly damning, but Virgin Atlantic couldn't just let this one lie after it received so much attention. How does an airline that's always been known for PR stunts handle this one? They decided to bring him out to visit the airline.

That's right. He was called personally by Branson inviting him to come out to the airline's catering facility to help pick future meals to be served onboard. Nice job, and a great way to turn a bad situation into a good one, but was it completely manufactured?

It turns out the the person who wrote the letter is actually a creative for the PR firm, WCRS. Could this have been a planned stunt from the beginning? The PR man says no, it was a legitimate complaint letter, though clearly he has a penchant for writing good copy.

I suppose the point is that it doesn't matter. This letter got around the world quickly, and Virgin's response was a good one. They say all press is good press, and in this case, that appears to be the case.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.