Low Airfares Are Still Funny

GSD&M unveiled the first of two new television spots for Southwest Airlines last week.

In “Limo,” a businessman strides through an airport, buying companies for millions of dollars over his cell phone. But when the ticket agent informs him the last-minute, one-way fare to Houston is $1,900, he hops back in his limo and heads to the Southwest Airlines terminal. “He’s rich, not stupid,” states the on-screen super.

Another 30-second spot breaks May 7 promoting Southwest’s flights to Boston-area airports. Ordinary folks are seen humorously practicing their Boston accents using Berlitz-type language tapes and phrases such as “Park the car in Harvard Yard.”

The spots were created by GSD&M group creative directors Brent Ladd, Steve Miller and Mark Ray, the trio that assumed the advertising reins on the Southwest Airlines account from Brian Brooker. Brooker departed the agency last fall to become president and creative director of Barkley Evergreen & Partners in Kansas City, Mo.

Since then, the three have produced about 15 spots for Southwest, one of the most active accounts at Austin, Texas-based GSD&M. Other projects have included commercials for Southwest’s 30th anniversary, the airline’s National Hockey League sponsorship and the continuation of the carrier’s long-running “Want to get away?” campaign.

All of the ads, without exception, are designed to be funny.

“Because it’s such a great reflection of Southwest Airlines personality, it seems like the best approach to represent the brand,” said Ray.

Spot TV buys have been made in selected U.S. markets.

“It’s part of an ongoing effortto let people know we’re not like the other airlines,” Miller told Adweek. “[Low prices] are not just something that kicks in during the summer.”