The taxi federation for the Australian state of Victoria has issued an unreserved apology for a tweet it sent that used Remembrance Day to promote its Twitter campaign to connect with consumers.
The Victoria Taxi Association was heavily criticised by the public for linking – and misspelling – Remembrance Day to its Your Taxis social media campaign.
Remembrance Day takes place globally each 11 November to honour servicemen and women that have given their lives to defend their countries, from the First World War onwards to more recent conflicts.
The VTA said in a swiftly-released statement that "an external supplier" sent the tweet on its official @yourtaxi account but that its own staff should have reviewed it. It has subsequently been deleted.
"Our industry has the utmost respect for Australian servicemen and women and their families and the decision to use an important and significant day like Remembrance Day in any form of marketing was ill-advised, inappropriate and completely unacceptable," said David Samuel, CEO of the association.
"We apologise to all servicemen and women, their families and the wider community for a mistake that should never have happened."
The incident comes during a tough week for the VTA following the launch of their Your Taxis campaign on Monday, which was set up to allow taxi users to share their experiences and feedback on social media.
Consumers were supposed to use #FirstCabOffTheRank to share stories, but instead hijacked the campaign name #YourTaxis to post scathing experiences of verbal abuse, incompetence and even sexual harassment from taxi drivers.
However, Samuel has stood firm on the campaign, saying he expected criticism and that it was "never about selling something".
"The response online over the past 24 hours isn't anything we didn't expect. We asked for feedback and we got it. The good and the bad and everything in between," he said.
"It also demonstrates the number of people that rely on taxi services and we want to make sure our service continues to meet customers' expectations in a period of rapid change. We will respond to everything that comes our way on YourTaxis."