The photos of Southwest’s new livery leaked over the weekend missed one key aspect, and that’s probably a good thing. The new Heart logo was covered in the previews and it is, pardon the pun, the heart of the new branding effort.
The airline officially unveiled the new livery and branding this morning and also showed off the first painted planes. The rebranding is more than just the planes, however. It will also cover gate areas and other marketing work as well. The timing on the roll-out, however, is commensurate with the lack of urgency in making the decision to rebrand. The company will take their time getting it done. While 60 planes will be repainted by the end of 2014 it will take several years to get the full fleet of more than 600 aircraft painted. I’ve seen reports of seven years as the target while the official site only says “over the coming years.” Even the airport updates will cover more than two years.
Dallas Love Field will feature our new look beginning September 8, with two additional airports scheduled to follow by the end of the year. The conversions will include updates to our ticket counters, gates, kiosks, displays, and other amenities that make your travel experience comfortable and easy. We’re aiming to convert all airports by the end of 2016.
Even with the long roll out timeline the company is starting the rebranding efforts immediately. A new TV commercial is queued up to go on Monday Night Football tonight. Or on the internet right now for people looking to watch more commercials.
It is reminiscent of Delta’s recent Keep Climbing campaign. Both try to make flying an emotional experience, not a transactional transportation event. And Southwest is adding a Heart to the effort, too.
The company claims that they’ll be able to make this rebranding happen in a cash-neutral manner, with costs being offset by other savings, but no real details there. And I’m still at a loss for why now was the time to make the change. But here we are and away we go. Keep an eye out for the new planes and branding through the end of the decade.
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The more I look at the photos the more I like the new livery. I’m not overly excited about it (or the rebranding in general) but I certainly don’t dislike it. The heart gives me some hope that WN will retain their “identity” through the rebranding. We’ll see…
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