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Optus apologises in print for ‘balls up’ coverage

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Optus has taken out a series of ads in print to apologise for its Football World Cup broadcast failings, pleading for forgiveness in an effort to rebuild consumer trust and loyalty.

Two different versions of the full-page ads were syndicated in Fairfax Media and News Corp Australia’s national and metro titles on Friday.

The ads acknowledged that the company failed to deliver on its promise to exclusively deliver all the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches to paying Optus customers – who instead received a continually buffering stream.

In the ad featured in Fairfax’s The Australian Financial Review and News’ The Australian, Optus CEO Allen Lew wrote an open letter to readers personally apologising on behalf of the company.

“Like you, we are football lovers. Our broadcast of the 2018 FIFA World Cup was to be one of our proudest moments. Unfortunately, we let you down,” said Mr Lew in the letter.

“Our customers always come first, and we will continue to do all we can to regain your trust and loyalty.”

An open letter from Optus’ CEO appeared in both national mastheads. Click to enlarge.

The alternative copy, which appeared in News’ metropolitan papers, took a more relaxed and colloquial approach with stronger display, accepting that the coverage had gone “balls up”.

“Balls up. Schlamassel. Qué desastre. However you say it, we did it. And we’re sorry,” the copy began.

“We’re not going to pretend our delivery of the 2018 FIFA World Cup was anything but a monumental stuff up. We are going to make things better though.

“We’ll stay busy making sure this never happens again.”

A bolder, more relaxed execution appeared in News Corp Australia’s metro titles. Click to enlarge.

In an act of good faith, Optus has offered disgruntled sports fans free access to Optus Sport until August 31, with and the remaining games of tournament to be streamed simultaneously on free-to-air SBS.

“It’s the least we can do for the unnecessary disruption and disappointment,” Mr Lew said.

The poor service customers received from Optus spun into a PR disaster, appearing on front pages around the country and receiving condemnation from Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Optus is the latest in a string of companies who have leveraged print to apologise to customers for their various shortcomings and to start to rebuild trust.

National Australia Bank issued a full page ad in The Australian and The Daily Telegraph in May following a nationwide outage which impacted customers’ ability to access their accounts.

Facebook issued a series of print advertisements in the US and UK following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. A KFC ad campaign in the UK, published in reaction to the fast food running out of chicken, won a Gold Lion at Cannes last week.

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