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Sexist ads create turbulence for Lufthansa

The Local · 22 Jun 2012, 12:09

Published: 22 Jun 2012 12:09 GMT+02:00

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Microblogging site Twitter exploded on Thursday evening, as male and female critics slammed the campaign for reviving outdated consumer-mad, male-dependant female stereotypes, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

While Lufthansa was able to alter the online campaign – it was too late for the reams of men who had already received the seemingly handwritten plea through the post, signed off with a lipstick-smeared kiss.

“To my sweetheart,” it begins, before proceeding to say how brilliant it is to be the most important thing in a man's life.

Then comes the catch: “please sign me up for this wonderful Woman's Special Credit Card” the girlfriend begs.

The letter goes on to appeal to the male frequent flyer to extend his Miles-and-More account and give his woman her own credit card - which comes with female-friendly treats and is geared up to shopping all over the world.

For €35, the card offers invitations to exclusive events, surprise gifts and, best of all, a two-year subscription to Vogue because, as his mystery girlfriend explains, “you know I love to flick through magazines like that.”

It wouldn't be all shopping, magazines and parties, though. The Woman's Special Credit Card allows female flyers to save their own air miles “just like you, so we can go somewhere together – like Paris!”

Unfortunately, female Miles-and-More account holders cannot treat their "special man" to a partner card - a male version of the Woman's Special Credit Card does not exist.

“Will I be getting a letter from my sweetheart asking if he can have a partner credit card to go shopping with?” Tweeted German businesswoman Anke Domscheit-Berg.

Lufthansa took to Twitter in a damage control attempt – although their initial response of “we regret the impression that [the campaign] has made,” did little to stop the flood of angry tweets.

Story continues below…

Later, a press release was issued reassuring customers that the company “never intended to convey outdated gender roles or excluding customers from the [partner card] scheme.”

Whether this will prompt a flood of men pressing their wives for a partner card so that they too can flick through magazines like Vogue remains open to question.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:30 June 22, 2012 by finanzdoktor
Outdated gender roles, yes. Not to mention the explaining a husband would have to do, to his wife, who might believe he really has a "girlfriend."
14:14 June 22, 2012 by green idea factory
Also heterosexist.
18:34 June 22, 2012 by lucksi
I hate modern smartphones and things like twitter. If only we wouldn't have them, then women would have no way to complain from their kitchen.

*insert sarcasm tag*
19:40 June 22, 2012 by Tonapah
What is everybody crying about??? At least Lufthansa offers its customers very good service. If you're so mad at them, try flying an American airline, where there is no service, hostile employees and stale crackers. You'll be begging Lufthansa to take you back, no questions asked.
19:57 June 22, 2012 by yourkeau

Why don't you suggest to compare with Aeroflot or Magadascar airlines then? The world is now a better place to live than it was 100 years ago because people were not satisfied with it.

Now Lufthansa has learned the lesson and will never do it again = the world will be a better place to live in future.
21:35 June 22, 2012 by Tonapah
@ yourkeau

I tell you what. You fly those airlines. I'll fly Lufthansa any day. Maybe you can buy Katja Kipping a card, and a one way ticket to Putin-ville. Then, the world will really be a better place.
21:42 June 22, 2012 by wood artist
While this probably wasn't properly PC, like @Tonapah I'm willing to cut Lufthansa some slack, mainly because their service is so much better than any domestic US carrier. Yup, they probably screwed up, and yeah, they're apparently paying the price for doing so, but I'll still fly with them anytime, and whenever I have a choice. I can be far more offended in the first ten minutes of any US domestic flight!

22:27 June 22, 2012 by Tonapah
@ wood artist

My wife was spat at by a Flight Attendant on a US carrier. I had to write to the CEO of the company. There was a time when flying in the U.S. was reasonably pleasant; and passengers had expectations that they would receive some customer service. Not any more.

So, what's more important, a silly ad campaign, or the level of service you actually receive while on-board an airplane? I remember a commercial for Volkswagen where a young man tells his girlfriend to quit her yakin', because he wants to listen to the sound of German engineering. It ran for two weeks, before it was pulled. Same type of outrage.

I encourage
04:57 June 23, 2012 by catjones
From now on, no matter how critical an article in the local is of germany or a german company, I'm going to compare it to America or an American company. I know, I know it makes no logical sense, but I have an inferiority complex.
09:18 June 23, 2012 by wood artist

I well understand. While I knew my comment wasn't PC, back a couple years ago...due to the volcano in Iceland, I had to reschedule my flight from the US to Frankfurt. The folks at the Lufthansa phone center were wonderful, even though I knew they were going through hell due to that mess. The best they could do...and I completely understood it, was to move me to a United flight. When we finally landed I commented that the only difference between that flight and the "forced relocation" during the Third Reich was that we had chairs. It really was THAT BAD.

I'd gladly take the worst Lufthansa flight over the best domestic carrier, and do unless I simply have no choice. In the not too far distant future I need to go from Portland OR to Memphis TN. I've chosen to drive! It's about 44 hours driving time, almost all on freeways, so...nearly four days on the road, but that's still better than the flight options. Sad but true.

10:23 June 23, 2012 by MrPC
Great ad idea, hope it works for Luftshansa. Politically correct be damned, those offended can kiss my behind.
16:54 June 23, 2012 by yourkeau
@catjones, well said.

I'm trying to understand all the comments above, but until now I can't understand what has the service of the above mentioned airline has to do with their sexist ad? What's the purpose of comparing US and German airlines? Do you want to say, that Lufthansa can do what they want until they provide excellent service? Well, than Germans definitely have another opinion: human rights and German constitution also apply to Lufthansa.
17:18 June 23, 2012 by wenddiver
Comrads unite and support PC thought, everybody knows women hate Voque, Paris, and reject Bougesois thoughts like romance, lip stick and the most awful of capitalist thoughts Shopping.

For our leftist friends we will issue a new advertisement with a proud female tractor driver on the cover, exhorting her lover to emotionless, safe sexual contact without rommance or bougesois emmotional attachment. Inside the add she will promise her man that he can earn points while staying at home and living off his minimal survival social benefits, glorify in his Patricia Lumba University Degree instead of mindless sucess.

Points will get you a bus trip to the People's Steel or Fertilizer plant of her choice picked by a commitee of the People's Soviets for Socialist Entertainment. An autographed photo of the Socialist Bureacrat of your choice and a shower curtain made in Cuba may be available if the five year plan for paper production is reached. Your destination will be posted at the local Soviet.

All Glory to the people's Advertising and Fertilizing Soviet. All power to those who supress thought and un-socialist activity! (Insert International here, sung by chior of Zimbabwe's male modeling Soviet.)
17:42 June 23, 2012 by realist1961
My suspicion is that the critics didn't make the cut for the German Farm Girls Calendar.
17:46 June 23, 2012 by Tonapah

First, I'm glad that you speak for all Germans. Second, it's my opinion, that Lufthansa treats it passengers very well, even if they made a poor ad choice. I'm sure whoever approved the ad from the agency, is going to go without schnitzel for a very long time...The quality of mercy is not strained, yourkeau, except maybe in your household...
21:59 June 23, 2012 by yourkeau
"First, I'm glad that you speak for all Germans. Second, it's my opinion, that Lufthansa treats it passengers very well, even if they made a poor ad choice."

I have never questioned that, did I? You know, I also treat people very well, however nobody will accept this as an excuse if I make a big mistake.

Let's refer to your first comment here:


What is everybody crying about??? At least Lufthansa offers its customers very good service.


This article is not about airline's service, is it? This article is about airlines's sexist ad. Having a great service is not a valid excuse for doing this.
22:21 June 23, 2012 by Deutschguy
Lufthansa's offensive ad mistake should not be overlooked just because they otherwise provide great customer service. Odd that those who want to criticize the ad's critics have to change the subject.

Also, commenters attempting to link those offended by the ad's blatant sexism to socialism clearly understand neither. There are and were a lot of self-made business women who were offended by the ad.
22:35 June 24, 2012 by punkspop
People are starving, countries at war, humanity at risk....who really gives a damn about commercialism gone somewhat skewed? How about focusing on promotions and wages for women? And, no, I don't believe that this ad is going to affect the gains made by women over the last 50 years. If that's the case, then no progress was made at all.
13:12 June 25, 2012 by rgmanalo
Hmmm.....the issue here is the gender-insensitive Lufthansa advertisement, not American airlines...so please stop those yakkety-yak about German vs American airline services.
16:49 June 28, 2012 by Hillbask
I have flown both carriers. I even worked as a flight attendant. All countries make sexist mistakes in advertising. Having an airline with good service, but making Sexist marketing campaigns makes me think: Hmm. Great service on the one hand, but how will I feel when I am passed over for seconds on coffee because the preference will be given to my husband in the aisle seat because he is a MAN...a German MAN? Then I will have to weigh that possibility with bad food, horrible American fat people overflowing into my seat, and cheesy air line attendants from the US side, and decide.
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