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#YourTaxis - One of the Worst Social Media Backlashes Yet

If you aren't from Australia, Victorian Taxi Association probably sounds like a company which deals more in horses and carriages than actual cars, but in truth it's a large cab company based out of Port Melbourne. As many discovered (including the company themselves, seemingly), they don't have the best reputation among Australian citizens, as a recent attempt to wade into the world of social media PR quickly mutated into a colossal tongue-lashing.

Last Monday, they rolled out the #YourTaxis hashtag in order to invite customer feedback. They aren't the first company to do this and certainly won't be the last, nor do these kinds of these invariably yield positive results. In this case though, things were a little bit more extreme. Almost immediately after the campaign started, the hashtag started trending, but only because former customers were flooding it with stories of verbal, physical and even sexual abuse from drivers. Stories about drivers refusing short fares and poor hygiene in the cars themselves also emerged.

The company tried their utmost to remain vigilant in the face of all this hot molten hatred, asserting that they appreciated all feedback and would take any opportunity to improve their service seriously. Then the bad thing happened. In an ill-fated attempt to appear socially conscious, the company threw out a Remembrance Day tweet, although they somehow managed to misspell 'remembrance', and worse still, related the day back to a factoid about taxis. It read as follows : “#RememberanceDay 600,000 taxi trips are taken by war Veterans and widows for treatment purposes. Lest We Forget. #yourtaxis”

They had already fielded adversity from pissed off customers, but now they'd invited in a whole new faction of pissed off people who probably hadn't even known they existed until now. If you're being chased down the street by an angry mob, you don't then run into an embassy and yell out a racist slur. The Tweet was removed and an apology was offered, but by then it just looked like they were piling on. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ad agency behind the campaign has since been cut loose.

There is some semblance of a happy ending in this case though. The company has wisely decided to very publicly commit to addressing all of the issues raised by customers during the campaign, rather than shying away from them, and they've made no effort to mask or hide what happened, instead opting for full transparency, or translucency at the very least.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#YourTaxis - One of the Worst Social Media Backlashes Yet Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, November 16, 2015 Rating: 5
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