I’ve always suspected that one could make a bunch of money shorting the stocks of companies with really bad marketing, the theory being that if they’re screwing up their marketing, they’re probably screwing up a lot of other things. I’m also thinking that a good company to put that theory to the test would be Spirit Airlines, because it would be just about impossible to screw up your marketing more than these yahoos have.
Several months ago Spirit kindly gave me fodder for a blog post after they had the idiocy to innovate the concept of charging customers for their carry-on bags. And now, perhaps somehow determining that I was struggling for a topic for another post, they’ve deployed a new online ad campaign that exploits the tragic fate being experienced by the beaches–not to mention the people–of the Louisiana gulf.
As this Ad Age story illustrates, Spirit’s new campaign unconscionably urges viewers to “Check out the oil on our beaches,” Spirit’s “oil” being suntan lotion donned by bathing beauties on the beaches of Mexico and other locations served by Spirit. One look at these ads raises the same question raised by Spirit’s April announcement about its carry-on fee: “Who in God’s name is calling the shot’s at this place?!?!” Perhaps the CEO summoned his VP of Marketing and said, “You know, I don’t think people hate us quite enough any more. I think it’s time we made fun of the devastation happening down there in Idaho or wherever they had that oil spill thingy.”
I should caution you that I’m not an investment expert, so you probably should think twice about following my advice about shorting Spirit’s stock. In the same spirit of full disclosure, I’m not an aviation expert–but I don’t expect to be boarding any planes bearing the Spirit logo any time soon.