Southwest Drops Wacky Humor for Serious Image in New Ad Campaign

Despite the fact that Southwest is the country’s biggest domestic airline, it has always held fast to its roots as the little carrier that could. Its homey, irreverent image has solidified over the years thanks to flight attendants dressed in polo tops and shorts, but also via trademark ads that were funny, even wacky (see video below).  No more.

Ads on barf bags? Yes. Guess the airline.

New Ad Doesn’t Mention Free Bags

In fact, there are no laughs at all in Southwest’s latest ad campaign – set to Fun.’s radio-friendly song “Some Nights” – unveiled this week: Instead, it appears to focus on a mantra of “never stop moving forward.” Perhaps most shocking of all, there is no mention whatsoever of its beloved signature perk: Two checked-bags for free.

Southwest says, some AirTran bags will fly free, too

Southwest Goes Mainstream?

If not for the Southwest logo, the ad’s soaring music and aspirational-type mood could lead viewers to think they were watching a commercial for a mainstream legacy carrier such as United or American. In fact, the agency responsible for the Southwest ads – the award-winning TBWA/Chiat/Day – has done campaigns for Alaska Airlines but is probably most famous for its ground-breaking spots for  Apple.

Old vs. New – Which is Better

Take a look at the two ads and tell us which one you prefer: the old one featuring a line-up of studly baggage handlers (OK, slight exaggeration there) or the new, mainstream ad.

Old Southwest advertisement:

New Southwest advertisement:


Published: March 20, 2013