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Malaysia Air Scraps ‘Bucket List’ Campaign After Backlash

Malaysia Airlines Ltd.
A man looks out at the aircrafts operated by Malaysian Airline System Bhd. standing on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia. The airline has suffered two disasters this year that claimed the lives of 537 people. Photographer: Charles Pertwee/Bloomberg

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia Airlines Ltd. scrapped its “Bucket List” advertisement campaign after it sparked criticism on social media.

The airline, which suffered two disasters this year that claimed the lives of 537 people, will stop the “inappropriate” campaign in New Zealand and Australia, it said in an e-mailed statement today. The “My Ultimate Bucket List” campaign began in the two former British colonies Sept. 1 as a play around the phrase, which means a list of things to do before dying and originates from the English idiom “Kick the bucket.”

“The competition had been earlier approved as it was themed around a common phrase that is used in both countries,” Malaysia Airlines said in its statement. “The airline appreciates and respects the sentiments of the public and in no way did it intend to offend any parties.”

Malaysia Airlines has suffered this year after flight MH370 with 239 people on board went missing in March and a multination search still hasn’t managed to find the plane. Tragedy struck again in July when MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. The government is nationalizing the airline, which is firing 6,000 workers.

The carrier’s shares were unchanged today at 25.5 sen. The stock has declined 18 percent this year after slumping in each of the past six years.

The competition went live Sept. 1, was removed the next day after the social media backlash and relaunched on Sept. 3.

The ill-fated contest continues in a new form, according to the airline’s website. “Whether it’s big or small, share your life’s ultimate to-do list and you could win a flight ticket or an iPad,” according to the website.

The competition is designed to inspire and encourage travelers to dream, plan and book their next holiday with Malaysia Airlines, the carrier said. To participate, customers who buy a ticket before Dec. 31 are asked to lodge their list, with the most creative answers going into a lucky draw, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shamim Adam in Kuala Lumpur at sadam2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anand Krishnamoorthy at anandk@bloomberg.net Lars Klemming

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