Spirit Airlines & The Marketing Antics They Let Fly

July 21, 2015 | by Nina Altadonna

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Spirit Airlines. This animosity isn’t so much about the airline itself—although I do have some qualms—but more so about the company’s branding and marketing decisions. My distaste is simple: they don’t have an established brand message or voice.

 

Spirit Airlines

 

I understand that they’ve solidly positioned themselves as the “value” option for airlines, but the tone with which their marketing comes to life is always different. Sometimes friendly, other times snarky and often completely random. They also have a tendency to be edgy/risqué with current event topics. Whether or not you find this style appropriate, I’ll leave to your discretion. (See examples below.)

 

Spirit Airlines "Bare Fare" Newsletter

(A Spirit Airlines e-newsletter sent out after the infamous nude celebrity photo hacking.)

 

Spirit Airlines "Trump" Newsletter

A Spirit Airlines e-newsletter sent out after NBC fired Donald Trump from the network.

 

Regardless of my feelings toward Spirit’s brand, I will admit, I love the unbundling-themed publicity campaign they just launched. It promotes their “don’t pay for what you don’t need” cost model by encouraging consumers to demand money back from other airline carriers who have wrongfully charged them.

 

Spirit Airlines "Unbundle & Unbundle" Website

 

Using a purposely tacky micro-website, unbundlers.com, the company boldly touts its ultra-low fares with the help of two cheesy, vigilante-esque lawyers, Doug and Douglass Unbundle. The entire site is an over-the-top satirical view of lawyers and ridiculous victim claims—all which remind me of a sleazy, late-night commercial seen in the ‘90s. Some of my favorite lines include:

 

“Being twin brothers, Doug and Douglass Unbundle met at a very young age. They opened their first law office about six months ago in the badlands of the California desert. Before becoming public defenders, they retained jobs as taxidermists, proofreaders, gym teachers, bottle rocket engineers, professional lemonade makers and clowns. With such diverse experience they really are the everyman’s airfare lawyers.”

“Real lawyers told us to tell you that we’re not real lawyers, and this is not legal advice.”

 

Featuring video shorts and a growing social media feed of “claims,” the website also has an interactive “Unbundle-O-Tron 2K” calculator that lets visitors gauge the amount of money they’ve been “swindled” out of by other airlines. The calculator specifically calls out six of the nations biggest airlines, including Southwest and American, making this campaign a loud and proud declaration of Spirit’s thrifty business strategy.

 

Spirit Airlines "Unbundle-O-Tron" Calculator

 

Whether you’re a fan of Spirit’s service, random marketing antics or messaging humor, you have to admit that they have a cost model that works. (Spirit currently has the highest profit margin of all U.S. airlines.) So keep doing your thing, Spirit. We’re all just here for the ride. Literally.

 

Spirit Airlines "Unbundle & Unbundle" Website Mission

 

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