The Internet was abuzz last week when Cho Hyun-ah, daughter of Korean Air CEO, and an executive of the airline herself, scandalously made an airplane taxi back to the airport terminal and let off a flight attendant who had served her macadamia nuts in a bag, rather than a bowl.
Though Korean Air initially tried to write the incident off as Cho merely demanding proper procedures be followed, the scandal quickly developed into a full-fledged embarrassment for the company. Soon enough Cho gave a rather humiliating public apology, as did her father, and resigned from her executive roles.
Interestingly, the most fascinating aspect of the whole affair is not so much Cho’s conduct as the effect the scandal has had on macadamia nut sales in South Korea: since the incident, sales have soared like never before.
Reports show that macadamia nuts were no extraordinary thing in South Korea prior to Cho’s outburst. Since then however, sales have gone up 12 fold—that number coming from one of South Korea’s largest Ebay-owned e-commerce sites.
It seems that consumers are even going so far as to search for the very brand of macadamia nut that Cho so ferociously refused in bagged form. Some guess that Mauna Loa is the brand in question, as their macadamia nuts are now sold out on the e-commerce site called Coupang.
This slightly comical airline episode has left us wondering: what on earth makes for good PR?
You’d think the correct answer to that question is highly orchestrated press conferences, photoshopped ads and meticulously scripted testimonies. As it turns out, sometimes it’s something as simple as a misplaced bag of salty macadamia nuts.
Indeed, no macadamia nut provider could have planned it better.