For my At the Airport column on USAToday.com this month, Airport wars escalate with attack ads aimed at rivals, I wrote about a new YouTube video about San Francisco International Airport, that features cameo appearances by SF Mayor Gavin Newsom and Marion & Vivian Brown, the kooky 83-year-old identical twins who have become beloved San Francisco icons. Designed to promote SFO as the connecting hub of choice for travelers coming to the United States from New Zealand or Australia, the short video compares SFO’s airy, international terminal to an unnamed airport simply referred to as “the bad airport.”
An SFO spokesperson insists there is no specific “bad airport,” but given the target market I’d guess, oh… that LAX is the airport campaign designers had in mind.
Other airports have no problem calling out the competitor they’re trashing by name. Canada’s Edmonton International Airport recently rolled out a “Stop the Calgary Habit” campaign, urging residents of central and northern Alberta to stop connecting through or driving to Calgary International Airport. The campaign has tag line: “When you go south, so does your air service,”; videos showing repentant passengers; and a tool kit that includes an “Emergency Hypno Cure” to help break the habit.
Of course, there was the challenge Air New Zealand threw down to Southwest Airlines. Air New Zealand produced a series of cheeky commercials and an in-flight safety video that showed airline employees dressed in nothing but cleverly applied body paint. Then ANZ challenged Southwest Airlines to do the same:
Southwest’s answer? “We’d rather rap”:
Now we have two airlines trading smackdown videos. Air Tran Airways and Southwest. See how Southwest started it.
Air Tran’s response?
“We thought about it and thought about it and decided to not respond at all. After all, focusing on running the best low-cost carrier in America is enough to keep us busy. BUT…if we were to respond, it might look something like this:”
Can’t wait to see what’s next!