Greta vs Deutsche Bahn …and when to recognise a good opportunity.

Fast train passing woman on platform
Photo by madeleine ragsdale on Unsplash

It’s not often you’ll find me dissing a brand but OH DEUTSCHE BAHN!!!! What were you thinking?!

Greta Thunberg: household name, teen climate activist and all round good-egg (apart from the skiving school of course). Personally, I don’t know many who can attest to such accolades at 16. Whether you support her or find her mildly irritating, Greta is a force for good in these rather dark and depressing times. There is no doubt that she is fired by nothing but good intention. She is a teen figure-head for making the world a better place, one politician at a time.

With over 3.6 million followers on Twitter, any coverage of your brand or business by Greta is important. Of this, Deutsche Bahn (DB) were sure. How they reacted though, was entirely short-sighted.

A quick recap…

On a train journey home, Greta tweeted a picture of her sitting on the floor of an overcrowded train. (Something most Southern Rail commuters in Worthing can empathise with.) DB took umbrage at this not representing the best part of Greta’s journey, which was in First Class (incl. seat) and quickly the public ‘spat’ between Greta and DB began.

DB quite clearly want to encourage customers to use their services, and showing train carriages full and over-flowing is off-putting at best. They wished for Greta to mention the friendly staff and great service she received in her First Class Seat. They wanted free promotion. Multiple press reports of the whole ‘spat’ don’t look favourably upon DB for this.

Quelle surprise.

Alternative DB response: Our eco-friendly trains are so popular! Greta’s doing such a great job, we need more trains!

Would this put you off travelling by train? The power of the crowd is such a strong one subliminally. That, paired with being a brand that stands for something, for supporting such an influential figure and for recognising the reality that over-crowding does exist… that would win the day for me.

OH DEUTSCHE BAHN!!!! What were you thinking?!

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