This Week – Tower evacuation, drone’s shut down airport and BCF-ing advertisements
Unhappy Christmas for Opal Tower residents
Residents remain shut-out of their Sydney Olympic Park apartments following a Christmas Eve evacuation after cracks were found in the 18-month old Opal Tower. While fears of building collapse have subsided, a preliminary independent investigation has found a number of design and construction issues.
An ugly debate over responsibility was made public by the building developer, Ecove, who released details of the confidential contract for the building of the tower by Icon.
As a government inquiry and a review commissioned by the developer continue, NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has weighed in by encouraging residents pursue legal action.
The Australian Subcontractors Association has used the opportunity to air grievances. Their spokesperson claimed that the tower was expected to be built for “unreasonable pay” and “when payment was due it was not forthcoming”.
Further headaches are likely as the incident has sparked calls for an independent inquiry into the approval process across the NSW industry, with experts saying "corners are being cut". Victoria's building watchdog has reported it will commence an investigation into all Melbourne projects built by Icon.
In these situations it is all too easy for key decision-makers to get consumed by attempting to quell arising issues. This is often at the expense of making sound strategic decisions and/or communicating to stakeholders – and the situation continues to escalate with more than 300 tower residents still left in limbo.
Drone’s at Gatwick
Gatwick Airport, UK’s second busiest airport, plunged into chaos on 20th December for 36 hours following repeated drone sightings on the airfield. More than 140,000 passengers were affected by approx. 1,000 flight cancellations.
Police believe the drone operator intentionally disrupted flights, as whenever the runway was about to re-open, the drone reappeared. Adding to the confusion, police conceded that some of the drones spotted may have been theirs. They have made no arrests.
The decision to close the airport is an interesting study into how the crisis was managed. Some have argued that UK authorities erred on the side of excessive caution in shutting down the airport. They maintain that drones generally have comparable weight and ‘consequence hazard’ as birds, and that airports are rarely shut down due to birds.
However, drones have been an ongoing concern for aircraft safety following an October 2017 drone collision with a commercial aircraft in Canada. While the plane sustained only minor damage, assessments and testing have shown how similar strikes could result in major damage. Additionally, and most likely the impetus behind the shutdown, was the unknown intentions of the drone operator/s and what potentially the payload of the drone may be. If the intention was an act of terrorism the results may have been catastrophic.
Drones are not a new concern for aircraft safety, however it appears that authorities were caught unprepared and extreme measures were taken to ensure passenger safety, measures that must have impacted significantly on airline industry revenue over the Christmas period.
Super Retail Group’s Boating, Camping and Fishing has come under fire from interest groups ‘outraged’ by the company’s most recent advertising campaign. The television ad ‘BCFing Guns’ has been accused of making reference to the f-word, copyright infringement and using pro-gun subliminal messaging.
With debate reminiscent of the ‘C U in the NT’ tourism advertising campaign, BCF has been slugged with a range of accusations from their ‘BCFing Guns’ campaign which was launched in late-2018.
The biggest public dissent comes from a recent replacing of the word ‘fun’ with ‘gun’ in its jingle. This has attracted a range of complaints to Ad Standards that BCF were attempting to use subliminal messaging. Gun Control Australia said BCF was attempting to “normalise gun usage" and called for the ad to be removed.
BCF has been quick to respond on its own YouTube channel, saying the use of the word ‘gun’ was to describe people displaying expertise in the outdoor and stating that BCF has no intention to start selling firearms.
Online activists have also accused the ad of making reference to the ‘f-word’ and copyright infringement as the jingle has a strong resemblance to the Sandy Bay March.
Ad Standards, who experienced their ‘biggest year yet’, reported the ad as the sixth most complained about advertisement. While Seven West Media has confirmed it had received complaints, it has not pulled the ad.
Advertising campaigns such as this can be the catalyst for further reputational damage to a company. However, it appears that BCF have, whether by chance or design, correctly read that this backlash was likely isolated and unlikely to escalate.
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