AirTran, Southwest trade advertising insults


AirTran and Southwest are having a nice little scuffle in their latest ads. First, Southwest came out with a TV spot showing its "rampers" on the tarmac taunting a rival plane (belonging to AirTran, though the logo is blurred out) with their sagging bellies painted with the message: "Bags fly free." In response, AirTran whipped up a spot (running online, not on TV) showing people in cow suits preparing to board a plane—a reference to Southwest's supposedly notorious cattle-call boarding process. (Also check out the guy on the AirTran plane absent-mindedly giving the camera the finger.) AirTran says it created the cow ad after getting "a number of inquiries" from its own employees asking if the airline would be fighting back. Fear not, AirTran workers, your employer dipped into the bonus fund to join this pissing contest. Good thing they went low-budget!

—Posted by David Gianatasio

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