Airline Stunt To Find Jimmy Hoffa’s Corpse Pulled for Bad Taste
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DETROIT — An online game that poked fun at the FBI’s hunt for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains was shut down after a Florida-based discount airline received dozens of complaints from customers who felt the flight promotion was distasteful.
Spirit Airlines launched “The Hunt for Hoffa” on Tuesday, based on the unsuccessful search for the remains of the missing Teamsters president at a Milford Township farm. But hours after the game debuted, it was stopped and the promotion was changed to “Happy Sale.”
“We never set out to offend anybody,” a Spirit spokeswoman, Lynne Koreman, told the Detroit News. “It was done all in good fun and topical humor. We got a couple of dozen complaints. Some people thought it was in bad taste.”
The Miramar, Fla.-based airline promoted the game on its Web site with the teaser, “Help us find Hoffa with our Hunt for Hoffa game and enjoy fares from just $39 each way.”
The point of the game was to dig for Hoffa’s body by clicking grids, mirroring the massive effort at the Detroit-area horse farm in May. Hoffa disappeared 31 years ago.
Winners were taken to another site that read “You found Hoffa!” and thanked them for helping the National Spirit Sale Center find the missing union leader.
A University of Detroit Mercy marketing professor was among those who didn’t think the promotion was such a good idea.
“It’s marketing run amok,” professor Michael Bernacchi said. “It’s a wonderfully creative idea gone wrong. This was a bad bet from the beginning. It was a high risk with a low reward potential. They needed to do their homework.”