Has Spirit gone too far with the sexually suggestive fare sale ads on its website? The union for its flight attendants thinks so, blasting them in a press release and a letter to the airline's CEO as demeaning to attendants, all women and "male members of humanity who admire and respect women."
Spirit, on the other hand, countered that its ads, while "colorful," are "not out of the norm when compared to many other successful retailers." And adds, for good measure, that its "edgy viral marketing" has been very good for business, drawing lots of traffic to its website and fare sales even as it has cut its marketing and distribution costs by 80% over the past three years.
I've posted four of the ads the attendants are complaining about below, all of which they sent as examples in their letter to CEO Ben Baldanza. In a phone conversation with me a union spokeswoman mentioned another one from last summer, which I'm linking to here.
The union did not mention this television ad Spirit ran recently, but you can check that out here. (There's also another interesting element to this television ad, by the way. Spirit found the female actress by posting a want ad on Craig's List the day before shooting, when plans for the originally scheduled actress fell through. It received 40 responses within hours, only about half of which were from professional or aspiring actresses, and ended up selecting a local executive.)
Here are the four website ads and promotions the union cited in its letter to Baldanza:
Spirit defends the "M.I.L.F." ad as very effective. The airline said it did a comparison last year of the "More Islands Low Fares" ad and a "Mom and Apple Pie" ad for the exact same fare sale, and the "M.I.L.F." ad outsold the "Mom and Apple Pie" ad by 28%.
I confess I did not know what "B.S.D" stood for. Rather than get myself in trouble by explaining it on this post, I'm just going to refer you to the online Urban Dictionary to look it up.