Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola have been forced to issue an apology after napkins circulated on Delta flights were branded as "creepy" by airline customers.
Ahead of Valentine's Day, which takes place next Thursday on February 14, travellers have been sharing several images of the offending napkins, which contain messages encouraging people to flirt with other passengers on the flight.
Delta and Coke have collaborated before, but on this occasion, the marketing stunt did not go entirely to plan. "Be a little old school. Write down your number and give it to your plane crush. You never know..." says one napkin, while others actually have space for other passengers to write down their names and phone numbers.
But the messages have been met with a fair amount of criticism, similar to the tweet above. One user criticised the napkins as being "creepy as f**k", saying the decorations were "not a good look".
"Pretty sure no one appreciated unsolicited phone numbers in the ‘good old days’ and they sure as heck don’t want the number of someone who has been gawking at them on a plane for hours today. Not a good look."
"Swing and a miss, @DietCoke," said another Twitter user, praising the idea, but asserting that it did not quite work in execution, saying: "Napkins received from @Delta on Wednesday flight seem unintentionally creepy, especially after reading the smaller print."
Following the backlash from their latest marketing ploy, both Delta Airlines and Coke have issued apologies for the napkins, admitting that they may not have captured the imagination of their customers on this occasion.
"We rotate Coke products regularly as part of our brand partnership but missed the mark with this one," said a Delta Air Lines spokesperson, speaking to Insider. We are sorry for that and began removing the napkins from our aircraft in January."
Meanwhile, Coke have issued a statement as well, explaining that they were already working on new designs so that people would forget the old ones. "We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended. We worked with our partners at Delta to begin removing the napkins last month and are replacing them with other designs," a Coke spokesperson said.
This is, of course, not the only brand to attempt to cash in on Valentine's Day this year. Financial company Revolut came in for harsh criticism, after an advert taken out on the London Underground train system was branded "exploitative" and "cruel".
"The way it [the advert] pries into people’s private spending and exploits it so strangers can laugh at perfectly valid life choices that – we’re all expected to agree – are sad and pathetic. Not exactly caring and progressive," says Iona Bain, financial expert and founder of the Young Money Blog.
Companies may be tempted to try and cash in on singles and lonelyhearts on Valentine's Day, but some, like Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, have unfortunately missed the mark.