I opened my Sunday Times Business Section today to a huge BAA ad across the centre pages headlined:
'Heathrow Terminal 5. From here, you can see tomorrow.'
The ad goes on:
'Wherever you're going, you want getting there to be as easy and enjoyable as it can be. That's the reason we've invested £4.3 billion building Terminal 5 at London Heathrow. It's designed the way tomorrow's airports will be - around people, not just planes. So our new technology will help make your journey simpler and faster. We've brought you some of the world's best eating and shopping experiences. And we've added lots of places where you'll want to relax and enjoy the view.'
'Heathrow Terminal 5. It's more than a new terminal. It's a new beginning.'
Now, I realise how easy it is to sit on the sidelines and criticise when a business hits problems. However, in this instance, the media agency has been totally negligent in allowing these ads to run, given what took place this week. The media space was clearly bought months before, but why oh why didn't someone at the agency replace the planned ads with a simple statement of heartfelt apology from either CEO of the two companies involved - BAA or BA?
The copy deadlines would have been on Friday and with some foresight some quick thinking person could have averted this media disaster.
If I were BAA I would be sacking my ad agency.