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Delta and Coca-Cola Apologize For Kinda Creepy Napkins Encouraging Passengers To Flirt With Each Other

A collaborative marketing campaign between Delta and Coca-Cola has sparked tense emotions after they tried to encourage passengers on the airline passengers to flirt with each other.

The marketing involved new Diet Coke-branded napkins on some Delta flights that asked passengers to write their name and phone number down and hand it to their “plane crush.”

Twitter: @beyouonlybetter
Twitter: @beyouonlybetter

The napkins read on the other side,

“because you’re on a plane fill of interesting people and hey… you never know.”

It was super creepy.

Many pointed out that it can already be uncomfortable having to sit next to someone for hours after rejecting their advances, and this would only encourage it.

Others connected the napkins to the airline industry’s growing issues with sexism and harassment on flights.

In 2017, a survey of flight attendants found the overwhelming majority had experienced sexual harassment themselves. 20% reported they had to deal with passenger-on-passenger assault while working a flight.

With 68% of flight attendants already saying they don’t feel their employers are effectively addressing these issues, a flirting focused ad was probably not the best idea.

After people started complaining, the companies pulled the ad campaign from the flights to prevent offense.

Of course, when anyone gets offended in this day and age, no matter the reason, people will rise up to be offended at the offense.

There were many calls on Twitter to reinstate the napkin campaign calling them “fun” and “cute.” One even pointed out that she ended up in a relationship in the past from flirting on an airline.

Other people felt it encouraged face to face communication in a world of smartphones.

Distinct from the offended and the offended-to-be-offended crowds are those who joke.

Both companies have released apology statements, with Delta saying,

“We rotate Coke products regularly as part of our brand partnership, but missed the mark with this one. We are sorry for that and began removing the napkins from our aircraft in January.”

Coke promised they were replacing the napkins and said in a quote to The Washington Post,

“We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended.”

Other companies have recently had to perform damage control after putting out ill-conceived ad campaigns. T-Mobile’s recent sexist Super Bowl ad featuring nagging women caused outrage on the internet.

Heineken had to pull a racist ad depicting the phrase “Sometimes lighter is better” as their beer slid past dark-skinned people and stopped at a light skinned woman.


Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.