Cathay Pacific and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Marketing Week


Cathay's marketing department screwed this one up pretty nicely, with a photo of Shanghai instead of Hong Kong
Cathay's marketing department screwed this one up pretty nicely, using a photo of Shanghai instead of Hong Kong

Surely spelling the airline name wrong on a plane has to be tops for mistakes made, right? This week, however, Cathay Pacific’s marketing team appears keen to one-up the contracted tech ops team with a massive blunder of its own.

The misspelling on the plane is embarrassing, but also relatively easy to laugh off. The carrier had some fun and the plane will soon be back to normal.



But the ad produced in support of the new Dulles-HKG nonstop route is harder to explain away. The image shows a man high above the city, enjoying the skyline and the new nonstop service. It is a great visual selling the route and the airline.

Cathay's marketing department screwed this one up pretty nicely, with a photo of Shanghai instead of Hong Kong
Cathay’s marketing department screwed this one up pretty nicely, using a photo of Shanghai instead of Hong Kong

There’s just one problem: He’s not in Hong Kong. He’s also not in Washington, DC.

He’s in Shanghai.

It is all sorts of awkward, especially given that Cathay is so firmly rooted culturally in Hong Kong and given the politics of the SAR with respect to mainland China.



Interestingly, this is not the first time an Asian country managed to screw something up with respect to Dulles Airport. It wasn’t long ago that the Taipei government had to recall 200,000 passports because they were printed with Dulles as the local landmark rather than Chiang Kai-shek International Airport. And that same image had been used for various advertising in the region, always claiming to be the airport at TPE while always being Dulles. Whoopsie.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

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