As Spirit Airlines Looks for a New Marketing Director, Let's Revisit Their Five Worst Ads
Spirit Airlines, the Miramar-based, discount airline with comically tiny seats and a habit of charging extra for every normal airline service is looking for a new marketing director. It'll be a hard pair of shoes to fill. As well as Spirit is known for its frequent delays, its gotten just as much press over the years for cheeky and tasteless ads.
Here are Spirit's top five most memorable campaigns, in no particular order of sleaziness. Let's hope that the folks at Ark Advisors, who are spearheading the search for the position, manage to keep the, uh, spirit of the company alive.
1. The Stripper Mobile
In 2009 -- and again in 2011 -- Spirit used a box truck filled with strippers to advertise its shockingly low fares. Using slogans such as "I'll go both ways for $18" and "I'll let you see my Vegas for $9," the airline advertised deceiving prices to customers in the Sin City area. This promo is less egregious than confusing. Emblazoning those statements on a truck filled with scantily clad women in a state where prostitution is legal probably yielded more sex solicitations -- and harassment -- than online ticket sales. However, we have to give props for logical consistency: Paying for sex often comes with unintended additional costs, which is a statement we're basing entirely off of having seen Pretty Woman once on ABC Family. In Spirit's case, the advertised fares didn't include taxes and fees that quickly drove up costs.
2. "That's Low"
This one is particularly tacky, because it looks a lot like an amateur porno, complete with redundant expository dialogue. "Yeah, that was your son," says the guy in the ad, as if viewers couldn't follow the premise of a 30-second TV spot in which exactly one event occurs. Perhaps the original cut include a Ferris-Bueller-style aside in which the actor deadpanned "This is a morally questionable situation, because I am both lying and facilitating adultery, and it's a scenario that the English vernacular would qualify as 'low.' The same word, which connotes something less than dignified, also applies to prices that are less than expected, which is what you can presume as a potential Spirit customer." Probably.
3. BP Oil Spill
As marine creatures choked to death on human detritus, Spirit's marketers saw an opportunity. The word "oil" was topical after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig, so what better way to advertise bottom-of-the-barrel flights to Florida than to show scantily-clad, oiled-up women lounging around the Gulf of Mexico? Did you know that sea lions can cry? Well, yeah, one has been continually doing that since this ad ran in 2010.
4. Tiger Woods
Was this made in Microsoft Paint? How can we get a job Photoshopping a Nike hat (sans Nike swoosh) onto a cartoon animal? Were any actual tigers hurt in the making of this ad? Did Spirit try to get an actual tiger to crash into a fire hydrant in order to boost sales? No, but only because they were tipped off that customers who don't mind waiting a multitude of hours for their flight generally wouldn't appreciate the extra effort.
5. Alex Rodriguez
"Improve Your Travel Performance!" this ad promises. "You'll Have an A-Rodiculously Great Time!" It's all in reference to a Miami New Times article about A-Rod's association with Tony Bosch, the Miami-based doctor accused of giving performance-enhancing drugs to MLB players. Technically speaking, we actually have no problem with this one.
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