Marketers have mostly stayed quiet about the public bailout of financial institutions and auto companies, but low-cost airline JetBlue is broaching the subject, albeit comically, in a new campaign.
The effort, breaking next week in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, are putatively aimed at former high-flyers who are humbled by current economic conditions. “A message to all hedge fund managers, big investment bankers, moguls, tycoons . . . ” reads one ad, which lists several other variations of big shots who “might be rethinking that next trip on a private jet.”
A microsite, jetblue.com/welcomebigwigs, makes the tongue-in-cheek pitch for the same audience. “We understand it’s not easy being a high-flyer these days. The CFO is picking apart your expense reports. Congress is mad about your bonus. And you can’t even hop on a private jet to the Cayman Islands without freaking out the shareholders,” reads the intro.
The campaign, of course, is rooted in reality. Executives from U.S. automakers got flak last fall when they flew their private jets to Washington to beg lawmakers for bailout money. Citigroup, which has received about $45 billion in taxpayer-funded rescue money, also had to cancel a $50 million order for a jet after a public outcry. The sudden stigma around private jets prompted Cessna to launch a new ad campaign appealing to executives’ brazenness. “One thing is certain: true visionaries will continue to fly,” reads one ad.