GSD&M Launches Southwest Salvo

DALLAS Southwest Airlines aims for the cheap seats in a new spot from Omnicom Group’s GSD&M that touts the carrier as less penny-pinching than its competitors.

The spot, entitled “Coins”, opens with a businessman trying to open the overhead storage bin on a plane, then realizing he has to insert a quarter to gain access. Ditto for tilting back the seat or releasing the tray table.

As he appears miffed at the difficulty, a young boy in the next seat looks to him and asks: “Is this your first flight?”

The male voiceover says: “Tired of being nickel and dimed by other airlines? At Southwest Airlines, our leather seats, blankets, pillows, snacks and smiles are always free.”

The spot segues to a Southwest jetliner soaring above the clouds and closes with the Southwest logo, a cursor clicking on the client’s Web site and the trademark “ding” followed by the familiar voicover theme: “You are now free to move about the country.”

The commercial is accompanied by two radio spots that break next week, according to Austin, Texas-based GSD&M.

The Dallas-based client spent $180 million on ads last year and $67 million through the first five months of 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Southwest this week turned up the heat on competitors like AirTran by offering end-of-summer $49 one-way fares in select markets. The campaign represents an effort to remind consumers that the carrier also places a premium on comfort and customer satisfaction.

Creative credits on the spot include group creative directors Steve Miller and Brent Ladd, art director Bryan Edwards, copywriter Victor Camozzi and producer Rita Ribera. Tool of North America shot the spot with Harry Cocciolo as director, while Charlieuniformtango handled post-production with Sam Selis as editor and Jannell Brown as producer.