Southwest Airlines “Fee Court – Family Vacation”

Southwest Airlines bases its new campaign on a competitive advantage that any frequent flier can appreciate—a carrier that offers fewer fees, not more. While other airlines are charging travelers with bag and fare change fees, not to mention all those customer service (if you can call it that) charges, Southwest touts the fact that fees don’t fly at its company in a campy courtroom setting. Disgruntled “real” travelers present their cases to a jury of Southwest employees, while an indifferent “airline executive” defends his case. In this ad, a mother complains about having to pay an extra $450 on top of the price difference to change her family’s tickets when a trip to grandma’s was delayed by her daughter’s fractured leg. “It’s an honest dollar, your honor,” argues the exec, while the Southwest jurors gasp at his outrageous statement. “Does his momma know what he’s doing?” asks one stewardess knitting in the jury box. Courtroom dramas have been used all too often in advertising. This one may not be as funny as intended, but the setup does provide a memorable vehicle to discuss the client’s no-fee change message. For fliers that are fed up with the excessive charges in airline travel, that can make all the difference in carrier choice.–Eleftheria Parpis