Monday, October 4, 2010

Southwest's Don't Bother to Hunt for Bargains Campaign

I'm planning a trip to England next summer. I'm going to either take a quick tour through England, Wales and Scotland through Globus or Cosmos, or I'm going to hike Hadrian's Wall.

In researching my options, I'm finding many websites offering the same tour at different prices. With the Cosmos Tour, for example, I've found no fewer than four different prices for basically the same itinerary. I don't think I'm at all unique in trying to find bargain prices for travel from different websites.

Which makes this latest nugget of sludge from Southwest- the people who brought us (and continue to bring us) the Bags Fly Free Rappers and Bags Fly Free Good Cop/Bad Cop ads- so odd. Here we had a ridiculously tortured argument against discount sites, as Southwest employees blather happily about how awesome it is that there is exactly ONE place and ONE PLACE ONLY to buy tickets on Kind of like the "No Haggle" ads in car commercials- "this is our price. Period. Isn't that great?" Or a recent Burger King campaign- "here's one place where you don't have to decide 'paper or plastic.' We only use paper."

Frankly, I don't know who this commercial is supposed to appeal to. Telling people not to bother to look for bargains doesn't seem to me to be an especially effective way of winning over the buying public. Is there really a population of air travelers out there who just want to be told "look, here's your price, click or get lost?" Maybe there is- but I didn't know that the OPTION of searching for a better price was some kind of negative.

So I can't bring myself to thank you, Southwest, for making my choice "easier" by offering no choice at all. "Take it Or Leave it" doesn't seem designed to build customer loyalty. So I think I'll Leave It-- at least until you offer $49 flights from National Airport in Washington DC to Burlington, Vermont. When that happens, I'll overlook your stupid ads and buy a ticket. Because hey, at least my Bag Flies Free.TM


  1. You know what irritates me about this ad? The way the small, young woman keeps hitting the big black baggage handler while yelling "the ONLY place!"

    Why is it that only the black guy who does what might be considered by some to be a menial task is presumed to be too dumb to know about his own company's products, services and policies?

  2. I missed that- you're right, it looks like the smart white woman is trying to "teach" the stupid black man about his own employer's policies. Blech.