Ask someone from Europe about Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, and it’ll likely elicit a strong reaction of some sort. A recent Twitter chat with the controversial boss is yet another in a long line of outrageous moves that would make any PR person wince.
For the uninitiated, Ryanair is a discount airline that charges for almost everything, including printing your boarding pass at the airport.
O’Leary, who said in his 2010 book that he doesn’t “give a rat’s arse” about his personal dignity, took over the company’s Twitter account for a brief chat this week and proved it.
Combative, inappropriate, megalomaniacal and misogynistic are just a few words that can accurately describe it.
A few highlights from the #GrillMOL hashtag:
Q: Would you agree you’ve reached the point where customers no longer trust you?
A: Sorry, can’t read, can barely write. 81m customers would disagree with you.
In response to a female questioner, he wrote: “Nice pic. Phwoaaarr!”
This one was an unprompted outburst: “Call me genius, Jesus, Superman, or odious little s**t, whatever takes your fancy as long as you fly Ryanair!
He did take some shots at himself, however, and vowed to work to improve Ryanair’s image: “Biggest achievement, bringing low fares to Europe and still lowering ’em. Biggest failure, hiring me!”
The tweets from the chat have mostly been deleted from the company’s account.
Among those that weren’t deleted:
Already overtime, but will extend this for 10 more mins to allow the pretty girls as questions #GrillMOL
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) October 21, 2013
It should be noted, however, that O’Leary has his share of supporters who love his style. What do you think? Clearly it’s a PR stunt, but if it works, should Ryanair keep it up?