Red card over red faces and red un­der­wear

The New Age (Western Cape) - - Inside -

VIET­NAM’S bud­get air­line has apol­o­gised for send­ing scant­ily-clad mod­els to join the coun­try’s un­der-23 foot­ball squad on a flight home, af­ter so­cial me­dia cried foul over the “cheap” PR stunt.

Vi­et­jet, best known for its bikini­clad air hostesses, came un­der fire for send­ing mod­els in barely-there cos­tumes to join the foot­ballers head­ing home from China where the team suf­fered a crush­ing de­feat against Uzbek­istan in the Un­der-23 Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion (AFC) Cham­pi­onship on Satur­day.

So­cial me­dia in the Com­mu­nist na­tion erupted over the photos, in­clud­ing one of an awk­ward­look­ing young man be­ing em­braced by a model in a low-cut sil­ver belly top and red un­der­pants.

Oth­ers showed the se­quin- and feather-adorned pin­ups pos­ing on the pri­vate flight that Vi­et­jet char­tered for the team af­ter the tour­na­ment.

The event cap­ti­vated foot­ball-mad Viet­nam and el­e­vated the ath­letes to na­tional he­roes.

But ci­ti­zens in Viet­nam were not im­pressed with the air­line mod­els.

“Vi­et­jet’s move was so rude, cheap and of­fen­sive to the team, the fans and even its pas­sen­gers,” Face­book user Nguyen My Linh wrote in a post that re­ceived 1 700 likes and more than 100 shares by mid­day Mon­day.

Though the air­line has grabbed head­lines by staffing some of its in­au­gu­ral flights with air hostesses in noth­ing more than biki­nis, many on­line users said it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate to send the lin­gerie mod­els to ac­com­pany the young men.

“It’s dis­gust­ing. I will boy­cott Vi­et­jet for this,” Le Nguyen, an of­fice worker, said.

The play­ers were treated to a rock star wel­come af­ter they re­turned home on Sun­day.

Hordes of flag­wav­ing fans packed the streets of Hanoi to catch a glimpse of the team.

Vi­et­jet apol­o­gised for the stunt, say­ing it was an “im­pro­vised move” and not a well­thought out mar­ket­ing strat­egy. It said “rel­e­vant staff” had been dis­ci­plined. – AFP

CHEAP STUNT: Vi­et­Jet Air has apol­o­gised for hav­ing scant­ily­clad mod­els join the na­tional U­23 foot­ball squad on a flight home.

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