Full disclosure: I’ve never really been a fan of Southwest.
Why not? I don’t like not being able to choose my seat in advance, I don’t like their lack of a first class cabin, I don’t like their lack of international coverage, I don’t like the fact that their miles have a fixed value for redemption, I don’t like that they don’t have any partners on which you can redeem your miles. I do not like Green Eggs and Ham… ok got a little carried away there, but I think you get the point.
With all that said, I really, really LUV their new ad campaign:
It’s a big shift from how they’ve presented themselves in recent years. It’s mature, confident, bold, and there’s a swagger to it. If this is the direction they’re taking the brand, I think it’s a great move – and the ad executes it really well. It elevates Southwest from a plucky, little upstart that is constantly trying to undercut the “big guys” on price, to a legit player on the big stage (which they’ve been for some time, at least in the domestic market).
I love it when a brand has the confidence to come out and say “these are our values, these are our beliefs… and these are the types of people we want to serve”. It reminds me a lot of Apple’s famous “Think Different” campaign from 1997 and the famous “Crazy Ones” ad:
It’s also quite different from how they’ve portrayed themselves in recent years:
At the end of the day, there are a lot of functional, rational considerations that we all take into account when choosing who to give our business to – but I’m also a firm believer that forging an emotional connection can help a brand deepen and maintain that relationship.
Delta seems to understand that. You can tell what they stand for, and what kind of vision they have from this recent ad:
I’m a pretty loyal United flyer, but I’m not convinced that they (or their ad agency) really gets it. This ad from a few months ago talks a lot about facts and features, but gives very little insight into what United stands for, what their values and priorities are:
It feels very grand (as it should for the world’s largest airline), but it lacks a clear message and doesn’t tap into any sort of emotion. It doesn’t tell me what kind of company United is, and what kind of people they want to serve.
I like that Southwest is kicking it up a notch, hopefully United will follow suit when there next campaign comes out.
What do you think? Do airline ads mean anything to you?
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