Greyhound: When Your Brand Is a Symbol of Awfulness

Alec Baldwin has “apologized” for his boorish behavior on a recent American Airlines flight by slamming the airline’s service, claiming: “Filthy planes, barely edible meals,” making “air travel experience as inelegant as possible,” and making “flying a Greyhound bus experience.”

Alec Baldwin American Airlines Greyhound

Predictably, a Greyhound representative has fired back: “I don’t know if he’s ever been on one of our buses (it doesn’t sound like it), but there are about 17.6 million people who travel with us every year who I’m sure wouldn’t share [his] feelings. I don’t know why he’s mentioning Greyhound, but we take pride in our safe and enjoyable service.”

Greyhound can claim “enjoyable service” all they want. Their years of providing a “brand experience” that includes dirty bus stations, surly drivers, creepy co-travelers and indifferent customer service will always undercut that marketing spin. The Greyhound brand most definitely has become a synonym for general awfulness. And, Alec Baldwin is a certified jerk, but he is right about the American Airlines brand experience. They are definitely approaching Greyhound status.

The marketers at Greyhound seem to realize fixing their brand might be impossible. They have found an effective way to escape those low-rent associations with a new brand:  Bolt Bus. As a regular on their NY-DC route, I can personally attest Bolt Bus is a thousand times better than American Airlines. And on Bolt Bus, one never need worry about encountering Alec Baldwin!

2 comments to Greyhound: When Your Brand Is a Symbol of Awfulness

  • Jerry

    What’s your take on how the Baldwin brand comes off in this? That’s every bit his brand, just personal rather than corporate since his celebrity rests on his public persona. Whatever one thought of the Baldwin brand last week, what strikes me here is just how weak is his apology. Bad food and a dirty airplane doesn’t mitigate his boorish behavior, since everyone on the same plane experienced the same food and only he revealed himself as an a**. Seriously, this is the best his PR people came up with? (his apology was not at the time of the incident so I assume some thought went into what he should say to stem the bad press) Totally lame I think; it won’t reverse and probably will extend the slide of the Baldwin brand.

  • LDMerriam

    The Baldwin brand seems to have “boorish a**” built into it. I wonder if he has PR people. It would be a horrendous job.

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