Southwest Airlines Boasts Of Simple Fee Structure In Fun #Transfarency Campaign
The low-fare carrier hits its fee-charging competitors hard in its latest effort, which equates its own policies with transparency and honesty.
In its newly launched campaign, dubbed Transfarency and using the hashtag #FeesDontFly, budget flyer Southwest Airlines compares itself favorably to competitors that charge for everything from checked baggage to flight changes to snacks and drinks.
The message of the campaign, which coins a word for transparency in airfares, is that Southwest tells customers up front what to expect in terms of fees and doesn’t surprise them with hidden charges. Agency of record GSD&M handled the work for Southwest.
“Being a low-fare airline is at the heart of our brand, and the foundation of our business model, so we’re not going to nickel and dime our customers,” said Kevin Krone, Southwest’s VP and chief marketing officer, in a statement about the new campaign.
The campaign kicks off today with a television ad that — fortuitously for the company — will air during a baseball playoff game in which its sponsored team, the hometown Texas Rangers, will compete. The ad was released early on YouTube, and the airline has been promoting it in its social channels. It’s been especially well-received on Facebook, where it’s garnered nearly five million likes.
Southwest’s home page was also made over for the campaign. It now features a large background image that introduces and defines the term Transfarency.
Clicking on the word or image takes users to a micr0-site created for the campaign at Transfarency.com. The site compares Southwest’s fee structure to that of a competitor and offers interactive features like a game called “Fee or Fake,” which humorously challenges people to distinguish real fees charged by competitors from ludicrous made-up ones.
Other features include a Mad Libs-style game that facilitates people’s complaints about competitors, which they can then easily share via Twitter or Facebook.
Southwest also encourages site visitors to share “tips” on how to avoid other airlines’ fees — such as wearing your entire wardrobe on the plane to avoid a checked bag charge or shipping your clothing ahead via FedEx or UPS. It will reward especially creative attempts with a gift card.
Judging by the social media conversation they’re curating on the site, the #Transfarency message seems to be resonating with consumers.
Marianne Malina, president of GSD&M, explained the theme:
Transfarency rose to the top for us. In one word you get the idea; you get the playfulness from it. It has smart humor that Southwest can own, and it elevates the idea beyond just inclusive pricing. It’s about transparency and being honest.
The TV ad will appear during NFL Sunday Night Football this weekend and will release three additional creatives over the course of the 15-week effort. The airline also says it will extend the campaign to Facebook and Twitter beyond organic posts.