Going too far in travel advertising ? A micro-study…

To begin this piece, I must mention the recent ad campaign that Spirit Airlines launched over the use of the Anthony Weiner. If you have not seen it, go to http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/06/08/spirit-airlines-spoofs-weiner-scandal-in-new-ad-1211051249/

What do you think? A very interesting angle used by Spirit. An airline that seems to be known for it’s media splashes (see $1.00 fares from LA to Vegas), Spirit Airlines has done it again. For a few years now, Spirit Airlines has built a reputation for pushing boundaries in advertising. But have they gone too far this time?

By branding themselves as an airline that uses current events to promote it’s services, Spirit reminds companies that targeting an event is risky business. While web traffic will definitely rise, it is influx of revenue that needs to be carefully calculated in advance. Keep one eye on the suggestive and entertaining ads to follow and think about if the buzz could lead you to purchasing travel related services.

American Airlines and the departure from Traditional Advertising

Both consumers and travel industry insiders have seen all sorts of advertising methods evolve. While social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are in the midst of becoming traditional, still newer forms keep evolving especially in the guerilla marketing segment of advertising. Enter a recent trend: Flash Mobs! I just watched a YouTube video (watch below) of American Airlines using a flash mob to create buzz about adding 10 new destinations from Los Angeles.

Yes, I think it is a cleaver way to generate brand buzz, especially if the flash mob performs in multiple locations of high traffic in a particular city or region. Not only are people talking to others about witnessing the experience, but they are recording and posting videos of it onto social media. The actual exposure is not just the 30 people who witnessed it live but potentially thousands more.

The cost of hiring a few actors for a day –or longer– is much more cost effective than buying air time on major TV networks. And since these highly organized flash mobs come and go so fast in public places, there is a quick impact on the public. Expect to see more creative flash mobs popping-up around you in the near future at rail stations, public parks, and malls.