Katharine Stone at Decent Marketing has a lot to say about how Delta's its new Simplifare program. While meeting planners may bemoan the fact that the airline also, with much less fanfare, did away with its meetings desk--no more free tickets for volume booking, from what I understand--there's also a sense that they're trying to take credit where credit isn't due. As Katharine says:
- Delta's new full-page ad campaign for its launch of Simplifares really grates on my nerves. The ad features the headline "How one airline is changing everything," as well as the company's new slogan "Good goes around." Are you kidding me?! ... Firstly, on the headline "How one airline is changing everything", Delta clearly was not the airline that changed everything. Have they never heard of Southwest Airlines or JetBlue? If we were being perfectly honest here, the ad might have read "How one airline finally got the picture" or "How one airline eventually got a clue before going completely bankrupt". For sure, other major airlines are now following suit, so Delta is having an impact, but I still don't see how they could have written that ad with a straight face.
She then goes on to compare Delta's on-time arrivals (15th out of 19 airlines), baggage mishandling ("Delta mishandled more bags than any other airline in October 2004, according to the report, with 34,723 baggage reports"), oversold flights, and complaints filed with the Dept. of Transportation ("the report indicates that Delta received more complaints than any other airline in October 2004, and ranked 16th out of 19 airlines tracked in terms of complaints per enplanements."). So, she contends, what are they bragging about?
Hmmm. It'll be interesting to see how the other airlines, which are jumping onto similar ideas, will sell their programs to the rest of us. And it's a cautionary note to the marketers among us to, above all, be authentic, whether you're selling a convention, hotel space, or airline seats. The public is smart, and we don't like being "spun."