Airline Famous for Cheap Flights and Tasteless Ads wants Your Ads in Their Lavatories

Spirit Airlines has done some wacky things over the years.

Its CEO squeezed himself into one of his airplane’s overhead bins, and Spirit has routinely trumpeted tasteless ads for the airline’s cheap flights including, “We’re Proud of Our Double D’s!” – supposedly a reference to “deep discounts”. Uh-huh.

Spirit’s ads also sometimes give a nod to events in the news like December’s “Eye of the Tiger” ad which somehow managed to combine cheap flights and Tiger Woods’ personal troubles.

Ads on Lavatory Doors?

Now, however, the airline wants you to get in on the “fun” by advertising on Spirit aircraft – all over the plane – including on its lavatory door panels (“Feeling a little over-exposed? Try the Nikon D5000”).

Put your ad on Spirit’s overhead bins if you want a really high-traffic venue (which will set you back $248,045). Ad idea: “Getting harder to fit in tight spaces? Call Jenny Craig”.

Or put your company’s logo on Spirit’s drink napkins for just $92,426). Another ad idea: “Spirit charges for soft drinks, but we don’t – Fly AirTran today”.

Ads on Barf Bags?

Speaking of drinks, you can buy ad space on the aprons worn by those hard working flight attendants – though when Spirit slapped the logo of an “alcoholic beverage company” on them, the flight attendants were pretty angry about being turned into airline “billboards” (Spirit responded by saying they’d gotten an okay from the flight attendants’ union).

Best available ad space? Spirit’s air sickness bags, of course. Ad idea: “We warned you about Pizza Hut – Your friends at Papa John’s”. Or vice versa.

Ads on Everything?

Oh, Spirit isn’t the only one; in recent years, other airlines have gotten into onboard advertising including US Airways, AirTran and others – on tray tables and more.

And let’s not forget aircraft exteriors which are festooned with everything from NFL team logos to stiletto-heeled bathing beauties (the latter airline “partnered” with Sports Illustrated to celebrate the annual swimsuit edition, naturally).

I’m sure Spirit will go them all one better; after it, it was their crack marketing team that introduced us to the “pre-reclined” airplane seat – which as we all know by now, is actually a seat that does not recline at all!

In fairness to Spirit, the airline makes no bones about its identity – an “ultra” low cost carrier forever touting its $9 fares (which is to say, its airfares are substantially more than that, once you add in the taxes, fees and membership costs of its $9 Fare Club – but these are still cheap flights). That said, the airline has a lot of very satisfied customers.

A Faustian Bargain?

But, goodness – when it comes to ad space, what does Spirit have left to sell?

Well…some lawmakers in Congress may harrumph that Spirit can’t sell its soul as that was lost once the airline started charging a fee for carryon bags.


Published: May 18, 2010