Southwest Wants You to Be More Productive

Advertising, Southwest

If you’ve been watching college football over the last few days, there’s a decent chance you’ve seen Southwest’s newest ad campaign that’s trying to get you to be more productive. Then again, you may have tuned it out as soon as it came on TV. This is a weird one.

08_01_03 bemoreproductiveI must admit, they’ve done a very elaborate job here. If you go to, you’ll see a big web-2.0y website with all kinds of ways to be more productive. The site is primarily filled with a bunch of videos showing our hero, Nick, the king of productivity. He never works nights and weekends, but he outperforms everyone.

Is it just me, or does Nick look a little familiar? Remember JetBlue’s poster boy for the new defunct Ohio service? He say on the homepage for a couple days when their new website launched in 2006. Hmm . . . .

08_01_03 nickwnandb6

Anyway, beyond Nick, we have a relatively lame attempt at generating user-generated content. They want people to go and offer their tips on how to be more productive. Um, no. Because as we all know, offering tips on being productive is about the LEAST productive thing you could be doing. (Two “tips” on the site already say just that.)

At least they aren’t filtering it like Delta did back when they launched their “change” website. How do I know? Well, I’m guessing this comment wouldn’t have made it through the censors:

Anybody who has worked two weeks in an office, already knows these things that are on this hokey site. Productivity is more of a product of company values, culture, and politics than anything else, most of which is out of the employee’s hands. If you were to violate the basic tips given on this site you probably wouldn’t be employeed [sic] long enough to worry about improving your productivity. Good luck……

Though they may not be censoring, it looks like they do have some plants in here. I’d say that John “Wrightington” isn’t really a disinterested party considering his quote:

driving all the way to DFW and then parking at a $17 per day open air parking space just to fly on an airline that doesn’t have any concept of customer service is a multip productivity blunder.

fly LOVE!

Hmm, I think you can get remote parking for $7 a day, and if you live in Ft Worth, Love Field is hardly a time saver. But hey, whatever. And that doesn’t really matter anyway. What does matter is that this site is just a waste of time. They’ve spent so much time on it, even putting advertising on this website linking to a fake site about the Annual Productivity Awards, but they haven’t really made anything compelling here. What’s the message? Fly Southwest and you’ll be more productive? Uh, ok. Why?

Oops, they forgot to talk about that. The only mention of Southwest is a tile in the header of each page saying that the site is brought to you by Southwest. I suppose the idea is to have people associate Southwest with productivity, but I’d think that it might be worth tying those things together. They’ve made a lot of changes in the last year, so it might be worth telling everyone why you improve productivity.

The obvious message is the “more frequent nonstop flights to more places” of course. But maybe they should talk about how you don’t have to line up to board anymore, so you don’t need to get there early. Or they could mention the USB and 110V power ports in the gate areas. I suppose they could even talk about Business Select, but hopefully they’d find a better way to do that than they’ve done so far.

Maybe I’m just looking at this campaign a little too early. Maybe this is all building up to a better tie-in to the airline. I really hope that’s the case, because so far I don’t see anything compelling.

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4 comments on “Southwest Wants You to Be More Productive

  1. Somehow I doubt their going to make any direct tie-in to the airline. I have a feeling that’s the whole point of the campaign–they are hosting a stupid, yet mildly entertaining, website in which people will participate and forward to their friends and coworkers if they want to share in the humor. Every 22-year-old who just got out of college who still thinks is funnier than it is depressing will forward it on, and perpetuate the marketing campaign.

    Every time someone pulls it up, they see a Southwest ad. Not an obnoxious pop-up, and not something that makes it clear the website is a method of advertisement, but just a little “Fly Southwest” ad at the top of the page. Maybe as time goes on, they’ll pull a Wal-Mart and start throwing in trolls who talk about Southwest, but given the way they’re doing the website I doubt it will be more obtrusive than product placement in movies or TV shows.

  2. I was watching these ads during the bowl games and each time i consistently found my self asking what in the world is SWA thinking? I just dont get this ad campaign its not intuitive that it goes with an airline. At least SWA’s previous “wanna get away” campaign worked.

  3. Cranky,

    The jab at DFW/American over parking appears to have been taken down. Now there is one that calls out American and United by name over change fees. (Begs the question of how change fees relate to productivity?)

    Just for grins I posted a “tip” that to be more productive you should always fly non-stop and avoid connections and stop overs. A somewhat subtle reminder that with SWA out of Dallas you can’t get very far without spending time on the ground. Be interesting to see how they respond to criticism of their business model. It cleared their vetting process and got posted. Interesting to see what happens.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Yes, that “humor” site got me cranky. Something about it was sooo…plastic, contrived, unfunny, scary even. Mildly funny? No, for me it’s more…tepid fascism.

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