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.

LV Air’s Brilliant Branding for new Las Vegas to NYC service

Since 2008, nearly 20,000 daily seats have been eliminated from the greater New York City to Las Vegas air travel market. The Northeastern US also has a growing number of casinos popping up from Atlantic City to Southeastern Connecticut. As the economy begins to repair itself, Las Vegas has noticed that gamers are opting to stay local. Vegas needs a new and unique way to get their high profile casino gamblers back to the Nevada desert. Enter LV Air!

Yesterday it was reported that a new airline called LV Air intends to charter wide-body Boeing 767 aircraft to provide new passenger service between Las Vegas McCarron and New York’s JFK International Airport. The twist is that the brand’s aircraft are slated to have nightclub inspired mood lighting, club music played while boarding, flatbed seating for 18 passengers in it’s premium cabin, and onboard iPads available. Other features include holograms of celebrities providing the pre-flight safety announcements, meals catered from notable Las Vegas restaurants, and luggage transfer service direct from the aircraft to hotel room eliminating waits at the baggage claim carousel.

LV Air is talking to multiple casinos in Las Vegas to create partnerships for transportation of the casinos’ best “high rollers”. The agreements are said to include allowing those casinos to have first rights over seats to transport their clients. It is widely known that many casinos operate or lease private jets to transport their biggest players to the casinos. This concept would allow the casinos to provide a luxurious and unique air travel experience while avoiding the cost of leasing or operating their own jets.

Brilliant branding, multiple sales channels, and providing a unique experience from the big apple to the desert oasis is coming this year. Keep your eye out for developments at LV Air!


Is Virgin Atlantic ready to mate?

Well it appears the global travel industry consolidation craze now has Virgin Atlantic Airways pondering a move. Virgin is finally seeking to join a global airline alliance (such as SkyTeam, oneworld, or Star Alliance), in order to strengthen its position and set pace for growth as international business travel upticks. The Sunday Times reported that Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways recently posed interest in buying Virgin. But that is not going to happen according to founder and current 51% stakeholder, Richard Branson.

Considering an alliance agreement is formed, what impact will this have on the Virgin Atlantic brand? I feel the brand is so strong independently that joining an alliance would only expose more fliers to the brand and fuel the powerhouse it is today. Virgin Atlantic’s three classes of service continue to be highly regarded as the smart and sexy way to travel across the North Atlantic. No revenue sharing agreement alone will dilute the brand or defer travelers to other carriers.

Turning to Branson himself, he is comparable to Steve Jobs of Apple in that he is the face of the airline. Putting the rock star and glam behind the brand, Branson makes a media splash at every opportunity to gain attention to Virgin and showcase how “cool” the products are. I think he will turn any alliance agreement into a wild red carpet event. And why not?!

So go ahead Virgin Atlantic, mate! As long as you keep the in-flight bars, gorgeous cabin crew, and stellar service that is synonymous with the brand. A sample of their latest ad campaign…