FT slams EasyJet stunt

Exclusive: The Financial Times has condemned a promotional vehicle by no-frills airline EasyJet in which it has spoofed the City’s favourite pink-sheet with its own publication, The Flynancial Times.

The two-page handout, which is being produced by the airline in an attempt to woo business travellers to its array of European short-haul flights, is due to be handed out in London and Belfast today (Wednesday 27 May) plus Edinburgh and Glasgow tomorrow.

But the FT has today said it was not consulted by the airline or The Bank, the agency that put the project together, and would now be in contact with EasyJet.

A spokesperson for the FT said: “We have usually got a sense of humour about these things, but this is a blatant infringement of copyright.”

The stunt for EasyJet, which is part of a wider, multi-million pound media campaign including press, radio and outdoor activity under the strapline “You’re a business – you work it out” will see 10,000 copies of the compact-sized paper handed out in key business districts in the four cities.

Distribution of the paper by old-style newspaper sellers will be concentrated outside key transport points as businessmen in bowler hats will travel on public transport while reading the paper, as part of a mobile branding strand to the promotion.

It is hoped that the paper’s fictitious splash story – “High-flying PA in City scandal” – will appear to readers as it describes how secretary Miss Angie Chavette stole millions from GoldStein Slacks by booking flights through EasyJet, and not traditional business class seats.

The airline spent £19m on advertising in 2004. Its media planning and buying is coordinated by Omnicom agency OMD.

A spokesman from EasyJet said the Flynancial Times was “a gimmick and not a personal attack on the FT”.

By Helen Kaye and Kevin May