Spirit Wants Ads on Flight Attendants, I Say “Why Not?”

Advertising, Spirit

Spirit has been pretty quiet lately, and that should scare all of us. This is an airline that thrives on getting itself free PR, and it usually does a very good job with it. But maybe their old tricks just aren’t working anymore. So what do they do? Step it up a notch. The airline has now decided to sell ads on flight attendant aprons. Free PR + extra revenue = Awesome.

You know that this means, don’t you? It’s time to step up the Cranky in-cabin ad program that I wanted to launch on Skybus.

Spirit Flight Attendant Ads

Spirit already sells ads on its aircraft interiors, so this is a next somewhat-logical step for the airline that has made it clear nothing is sacred. I’m waiting to see Spirit’s chief Ben Baldanza sell advertising on his forehead. Something tells me if he could, he would.

The flight attendants are balking at having ads all over their bodies because they think it will diminish their standing as being there “primarily for our safety” as we hear every time we get on a plane. But this in no way hinders their ability to get things done. If this is really on aprons as reported, they won’t even be wearing them unless they’re doing an inflight service. And trust me, if there’s a situation that requires flight attendants to actually perform out-of-the-ordinary safety duties, people will still look right at them for help.

So, I just don’t see it as such a big deal for Spirit. They’ve made it quite clear what they want to do, and this completely fits with their image. Now if I can only get a discount for my grand plan . . . .

[Original photos from superbomba via Flickr and Wikipedia]

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26 comments on “Spirit Wants Ads on Flight Attendants, I Say “Why Not?”

  1. I don’t see any real reason for it and am not sure it’s entirely well thought out. Consider:

    a) When F/As are wearing their aprons they’re doing what? Serving. Facing in towards the service carts. You get one flash of apron when they turn in to your aisle to serve but that’s it.
    b) Aprons are meant to do what? Absorb spills. Nothing like a soiled apron to get written up for because coffee stains are soiling the sponsor’s ad.
    c) Where are aprons worn? Around the waist. Reeeeally nifty having a planeload of people staring at your crotch or worse, touching you to get you to stop or flatten out the ad so you can read the fine print.

    I advocate for the service professional to be just that and not an airborne tee-pee wearing billboard for people to gawk at and paw for the sake of the latest gizmo or package deal.

  2. Optimist – In response to a) and b), that’s for the advertiser to figure out. If Bud Light or anyone else sees value and wants to pay for it, then there’s no reason Spirit shouldn’t offer it in those instances. For c), I imagine this will just be a Bud Light logo and not anything with fine print. That would be obnoxious and very well could distract from safety duties. I still don’t see any issues here.

  3. If they’re smart they’ll sell the ads on the rear of the flight attendant uniforms…. You know if the cart is coming down the aisle thats it the part of the attendant you see the most…..

  4. How would you all like it if your jobs started pimping you out to be a walkiing billboard?

  5. They should be forced to wear those big novelty foam cowboy hats with an advertiser’s name on them.

    And temporary tattoos on their arms.

    The nylons should be imprinted with an advertisement.

    Their nails will be airbrushed with sponsor’s messges.

    In case of a ditching, I want the megaphone to have decals on it, and the slides should be covered with logos.

    Male flight attendants will have logos shaved into their hair and will wear large clown shoes so that you can fit more logos on it.

    Seriously, how different is it from the endless whoring that a NASCAR driver does for his sponsors?

  6. One difference between advertising in-cabin on a plane, and a sports team. With the sports team, the advertiser is trying to get some of the kudos that comes with the players, and hope it rubs off onto their brand, at least in the eyes of spectators – i.e advertising by association. With advertising on cabin crew, it’s just a pure ‘buy our product’ with no attempt at gaining any of the kudos related to the airline whatsoever.

  7. Why didn’t the airlines themselves think of this and use the “ad space” to push their own products and services?

    Answer: They’d need another 8-15 staff at HQ to analyze the net gain in traffic and revenue.

    Since they’ve clearly decided not to market their own service, they’ll let some other fool pay for the privilege of being ignored by a FirstClass passenger who barely looks up from his/her laptop to acknowledge the drink order being served to them.

  8. If those aviation waitress types are getting a cut of the advertisement, what is the problem? Are they getting a cut? If not, it is time to charge to advertise.

    Face it, some airlines will do this, others folks pay not to see this, if you want an inexpensive ticket, don’t expect an upper crust service.

    “it is what it is”

    how else could those senior management and board of director’s bonus be deposited in the bank? Come on.

  9. It kind of reminds me of that scene in “Office Space” where Jennifer Aniston was sent home from the resturaunt for not having her required allotment of “flair” on for her shift.

    The Assoc of Flight Attendants (AFA) usual empty chest beating aside, I kind of see where the F/A’s are coming from on this. I think the big issue is that it is an alcohol sponsor that is underwriting this. Sort of a “HEY!! DRINK UP” message..and as many crew and passengers know, allot of inflight disturbances involve the firewater. The second, and more flimsey arguement, is the slippery slope one. If J&J wants to pay big bucks to hawk ‘Depends” will NK make their F/As wear an add on the seat of their pants??? I know it is silly but nothing mobilizes the troops more than fear.

    But in the end, I am totally with Bob’s post above me. With the exception of the “aviation waitress” moniker. Dude, 1961 just called and wants the pillbox hat & white gloves back.

  10. Wow CF, I wasn’t aware the level of disregard you held for flight attendants. I guess were just a bunch of waiter/waitresses in the sky, who are worthy of the humiliation of actually wearing adverstisement for alcoholic beverages, ESPECIALLY when the most likely in-flight difficulties we face can be pinpointed right back to that product.

    You really lost me on this one.

  11. Oh puhleez, Tony. I would ask that you avoid drawing conclusions about how I feel about flight attendants so hastily. This is all about economics, and Spirit will sell anything they can to keep ticket prices low. This only works if it fits with the brand image, and for Spirit, it certainly does. That’s why I have no problems with it.

    I can understand to some extent the concern about the ad being for alcohol, but if that’s your only beef then I assume you wouldn’t mind wearing a Pizza Hut logo? Maybe a five dollar footlong from Subway? If you’ll notice, my post says I support the idea of advertising fully, but I don’t mention the advertiser until the comments section. If Spirit’s flight attendants want to make the case that alcohol ads shouldn’t be permitted, then I’m fine with that.

    The only other argument I can see is the one Bob brings up. Flight attendants should try to get a cut of the ad revenue in their next contract negotiation.

    But I think this idea is a good one for Spirit. Maybe alcohol-free is the way to go, but that wasn’t the main point of my story anyway.

  12. Actually, CF, you are missing a great cross-border audiencce for your Crank Flyer cabin advertising. Your image should be of you in your Mountie’s tunic.

  13. Brian – Good point. Man, I’ll have to pitch that to WestJet.

    Bill – I did see that a little later on, though I do have to wonder if that’s simply the argument they think they can win. If it was a Coke ad, I bet they’d try a different argument. I’m fine with them fighting against having alcohol ads if they want, but fighting against the airline’s fare sale ads? Not a fight they’ll win.

  14. This is very interesting and is likely to happen, I recently went to a restaurant where they have sold space on tables to advetisers, hence now instead of a fancy place mat for your food and advertised one is used. It makes sense while i am trying to kill loads of time coz my guest is late i might as will read what ever is on the table and at times i have acctually made a call, now think of long flight where you have nothing else to do while on a 5 hour plus trip.

  15. I am addressing this as a consumer. I have heard about some flight attendants chewing gum and now this idea of becoming a billboard. It seems to me each individual needs to define what it means to have respect for one’s self and others. Honestly, if there is a need to advertise to create funds in this time of economic “down turn,” could we look at the possibility of safety, hospitality, and service to assure comfort; all rendered within the framework of dignity and professionalism for more connecting with the passengers in a caring way. That is what we should sell. We have “dumbed down” almost everything in our world. Please let’s start thinking and living with gracious manners as we help each others feel better about who we are.

  16. Hi! Go-airasia. Thanks for the comment. You are right! See my blog:

    americanairlinesstewardess.blogspot.com I am still adding pictures and more blog on this same subject of being in the air, serving our traveling public.

  17. Can they advertise for a) Other Airlines b) Diet plans c) Victoria’s secret d) Political parties

    Why not have them do just what the phone agent does – when delivering you the chicken or beef – “Can I interest you in a juicy steak at Mortons Steakhouse in Miami Beach?” or “how about the Veg-O-Matic for $9.99 – order by 35,000 feet and get this free bag of peanuts”

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