Spirit Seeks a Higher Altitude

Victor Associates plans to lure business travelers to Spirit Airlines with a campaign that also strives to maintain the carrier’s loyal base of budget-minded families.

The effort is part of a repositioning by the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Spirit that was undertaken in connection with expanded ser vice in the U.S. and the Caribbean.

A new logo and a fresh design for the exterior of Spirit’s planes was completed by Public Image Ltd. (PIL), Coral Gables, Fla. Victor and PIL are working together on the repositioning work, said Lynne Koreman, Spirit marketing director. The redesign is intended to make the airline appear more contemporary to business travelers, while print and radio, with TV set for fall, will play up an expanded flight schedule, Koreman said.

“We knew we needed an up date,” she said. “We’ve always appealed to families and leisure customers. But in this competitive environment, it’s a whole new world. We’d like to attract more business travelers, and it was definitely time for a fresh look.”

Victor’s campaign includes TV, print, radio, Internet and outdoor. Financial details were not disclosed, but Spirit spent about $5 million on measured media advertising in 2001, according to CMR. This year’s tally is expected to climb slightly, owing to the repositioning efforts, sources said.

The bulk of the creative work originated from Victor’s Bloomfield Hills, Mich., office. However, the agency, which has handled the account since 1996, has an account team in Hollywood, Fla.

A 30-second commercial broke in mid-May, a joint promotion between Spirit and DreamWorks, pushing the animated film Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron. The airline’s longtime tagline, “Catch the spirit,” was modified to “Catch the family spirit this summer” as a tie-in to the kid-friendly movie, Koreman said.

The tagline for another spot, scheduled to break in the fall, is a work in progress. One possibility being considered by client and agency executives is, “The new spirit of Spirit Airlines,” which will be used in print, radio and Internet this summer to introduce the new look, Koreman said. The company’s longtime theme music might also be tweaked.

Spirit is the nation’s largest privately held airline, with 98 daily flight departures to 14 destinations including Atlantic City, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Puerto Rico and a number of cities in Florida.