Sat, 21 Mar ’09
A tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign introduced this week by JetBlue Airways — offering ‘helpful hints’ for fat-cat CEOs now relegated to traveling on commercial airliners — has drawn significant objection from two organizations fed up with stereotypical portrayals of business aviation users.
JetBlue’s “Welcome Bigwigs” online campaign features three short videos, in which a comically pompous narrator guides a seemingly incredulous CEO and his two assistants through the travails of flying from commercial airports… while also pointing out such JetBlue niceties as leather seats, and onboard entertainment systems.
The campaign (which, despite its blatant and misguided anti-BizAv message, does have a few chuckle-inducing moments — Ed.) pointedly states “no minions, lackeys, or ‘regular’ people” are allowed to view the ad… implying a class divide between business aviation users, and ‘normal’ Americans.
The Alliance for Aviation Across America launched a print ad Friday to counter JetBlue’s “most recent ad gimmick that ridicules the nation’s business executives who use business aviation and attempts to argue that traveling on JetBlue is a better option to general aviation,” according to the group. The Alliance says its ad points out the fact JetBlue only serves 44 big city airports around the country mostly on the East and West coasts; “general aviation, by contrast, serves 5,000 communities around the country.”
“JetBlue does not seem to realize that small and medium sized businesses that rely on general aviation every day are the backbone of America’s economy,” said Selena Shilad, spokesperson for the Alliance. “Until JetBlue decides to send its flights to places like Hot Springs, AR and Gallup, NM general aviation will remain the lifeline to those communities and countless others all across America.”
The Alliance also points out that in addition to serving as a vital mode of transportation for small and medium sized businesses, general aviation provides over 1.2 million jobs in a wide range of industries, contributes $600 billion to the US economy annually, and serves as a lifeline for rural communities in times of medical crisis and natural disasters.
While the Alliance took a high-profile approach to countering JetBlue’s advertisement, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen opted for a more low-key approach — appealing directly to JetBlue President and CEO David Barger in a letter, stating the online advertising campaign “maligns business aviation in an attempt to boost ticket sales.”
“The online advertising campaign produced by JetBlue overlooks the fact that the people and companies in business aviation are among the airlines’ best customers,” Bolen said upon sending the letter. “Equally important, the ads disparage an industry that creates more than a million jobs and provides a lifeline to communities across America’s heartland – many of which aren’t served by JetBlue. It also helps companies be more nimble in this highly challenging economy and supports countless humanitarian flights each year. It’s disappointing that the airline has chosen to target an industry that comprises a significant portion of its own customer base, and also serves as the economic backbone of the country.”
In his letter, Bolen asked Barger to “please immediately pull your ads in recognition of the fact that they amount to nothing more than an attention-grabbing stunt to fill airline seats by maligning the people and businesses who spend billions with your airline and others each year, while also generating more than a million jobs and providing a lifeline for towns across the country.”
Source: AERO NEWS