Spirit Airlines "MILF" campaign goes awry

 
 

Spirit Airlines "MILF" campaign goes awry

When the emails began coming in today to the folks at Spirit Airlines, they claimed they had no idea. No idea that is, that their fire sale which promises "Many Islands, Low Fares" deals as low as $9 for future travel dates between Fort Lauderdale and the Bahamas was using the MILF acronym.

Arbelaez said that Spirit's senior vice president of pricing is a British citizen who was unfamiliar with the MILF terminology and that the airline is not trying to offend customers.

"The most obscene thing we've noticed," Arbelaez said, "is what other carriers have charged to fly the Caribbean before Spirit's $9 fares." The airline has no intention of pulling the promotion, which runs until midnight today, he added.

Still, some observers wonder about the airline's claimed ignorance. A careful look at the Spirit's online ad shows a cluster of islands that appear to form a woman lounging in a pinup pose.

This is not the first marketing campaign by Spirit to attract attention some may consider dubious.

Prior campaigns aside, looking at the homepage of the airline which features islands in the shape of a woman with the M.I.L.F. above it, really makes me doubtful it was unintentional. Although, as Tobe says, it doesn't really matter.

Tobe Berkovitz, the dean of the Communications College at Boston University and a marketing professor, said it's really "irrelevant" if the company knew about the connection or not.

"Maybe these guys crossed the line, but what most people are going to think is, 'Cheap flights, warm islands, count me in,'" Berkovitz said. "Maybe the thought police won't buy tickets, but the target audience will."

Berkovitz said that it's a great example of a marketing campaign that will generate buzz as the "hipster" demographic takes notice and influences the "mainstream."

"The young, the hip, they get it and then they tell the mainstream media, 'Yo dudes, this is a hot slogan,'" Berkovitz said. "It's the media food chain here."

I love when I can quote my college professors. ;)
(hat tip Leslie)

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Comments

British people do know M.I.L.F, well those under 40 do anyway. It's even been used in a song over here by The Twang.

Me thinks they aren't telling the whole truth. What worries me most is that you can fly for $9. Now that's something people should be complaining about in this new, environmentally-friendly society not some thinly-veiled reference to a mother that someone wants to f*ck.

C'mon, I'm over 50, and even though I'm an American by birth, I live in Europe, and I know what MILF means, and I'm pretty sure that all my aged contemporaries know what it means as well.  

If they really had no idea, I have a bridge over the Øresund I'd like to sell them. But I'll want more than $9.00.

I stand corrected. British people do know M.I.L.F, even those over 40. :-)

There a phrase in England that Spirit's Senior Vice President of Pricing might know, and that phrase is "what a load of bollocks."

 Incidentally, Senior Vice President Of Pricing? Is that on his business card? Is there junior one? Is there a President of Pricing? 

I think it's a pretty lame viral, thinly veiled with "we had no idea" to give it extra viraling boost-power (blogs like this one and many more posting about it). Meh. Of course they knew. It's taken straight from a viral marketing handbook, man.

Incidentally, Senior Vice President Of Pricing?
I know, they might has well named the person Faye King. ALso designed to make people remember CHEAP ¢¢¢¢!

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