I don’t watch much television at all. This weekend was the first time in probably over a year I turned on the TV in a hotel room. I also don’t really care much for NFL football, but it is what was on as I settled in for a nap so I saw a few commercials. And this one – Behind Every Seat is a Story: Coach – from Southwest Airlines has me spectacularly confused on the messaging.
I mean, I know the point the carrier is trying to sell: No change fees so book whatever you want and change it later for free. Hooray!
Putting aside that on day of travel (as in this example) the fare difference can be significantly more than the standby/same-day change fee charged by other airlines, there are two other themes in this one that I find questionable.
- The team is taking the flight because it lost the game that the coach was super pumped up for. So, yeah, “we’re the airline for losers” is one theme there.
- The video shows seat assignments over the players heads in the locker room after the loss. As if it is possible to know before getting on the plane what seat you’ll be in. Which is something Southwest doesn’t do.
The seat assignment thing is easy to excuse, I suppose. And the “losers” message probably is supposed to be that “We take care of you, even when things don’t go your way.” That’s the comforting, empathetic version of that interaction. Maybe I’m the horrible person here for immediately thinking about the “losers” message instead of the helpful side.
I guess from a marketer’s perspective the good news is that I noticed it when I otherwise really have no reason to care at all.
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