The Top Five Most Tasteless Spirit Airlines Airfare Sales

Posted July 23, 2008 by Zak Patten

In this age of distraction, when new entertainment options are but a mouse click or remote button away, marketers will try anything to capture the limited attention span of potential customers. Sometimes they walk a fine line between what's edgy and what should have never made it out of the marketing manager’s head. Sometimes, as in the case of Spirit Airlines, the line of taste is so far behind them they can't even remember what it looks like.

Spirit, the ultra-low-cost carrier, has its own particular style. We here at BookingBuddy thought it would be fun and educational (but not for kids!) to take a stroll down memory lane with the little airline that could (offend). So without further ado, let's count down the top five most tasteless Spirit airfare sales:

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1. M.I.L.F. This one got Spirit into some hot water, and I don’t mean of the Jacuzzi variety, though that does conjure up the kind of image Spirit would probably endorse. Ostensibly, the airline was promoting the idea of Many Islands, Low Fares with its latest sale acronym. But just as AA stands for both American Airlines and Alcoholics Anonymous, some critics suggested the M.I.L.F. sale was a cheap ploy to gain market share with the Maxim crowd, who might think it was a different, more suggestive acronym.

2. Hunt for Hoffa Somehow Spirit’s “Hunt for Hoffa” sale, (actually a game that involved digging for long-missing labor leader Jimmy Hoffa’s body by clicking online boxes) went over even worse than the M.I.L.F sale. It seems there was still some love out there for Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975. Hit almost immediately by a deluge of customer complaints, Spirit buried Hoffa and renamed the promotion “Happy Sale.” Eventually, the marketing stunt did prove successful, by at least one measure: It came in eighth on CNN Money’s 101 Dumbest Moments in Business.

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3. Threesome Sale Chalk up another one for overgrown frat-boy humor. Earlier this year, Spirit sent out an email that announced: "We're having a threesome. Join us in the fun." While some recipients of the message took it as a reference to the practice of, well, menage a trois, apparently Spirit was really trying to promote "three sales in one." The misperception was likely amplified by the repeated use of the word “threesome” in the accompanying marketing copy.

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4. WTF Favored by bloggers, instant messengers, and mobile-phone users everywhere, “WTF?” is used to quickly express outrage and disbelief. Typically understood as a vulgar expression of incredulity, Spirit Airlines claims the more family-friendly “World Traveler Fares” as its intended meaning. This sale proved to be a great way for the airline to showcase the international destinations in its route network, if not its sophisticated wit. Seriously, what were they thinking?

5. Oil Falls to Just $9 a Barrel* Not tasteless in a sexual or morbid way like some of the above, but more along the lines of a cruel hoax, the latest Spirit sale to grace the Internet was an attention-grabbing headline, particularly in these times of four-dollar gasoline. With the nation, not to mention the airline industry, reeling from the effects of astronomical fuel prices, Spirit opted for a phony headline and accompanying fake press release to grab the eyeballs of its potential passengers. Reporting that the oil markets had experienced the “largest one-day drop in history,” and full of quotes from “experts” such as Caut Offguard, Bubbles R. Burstinfast, and Shud A. Nown, the release was clearly a parody, though the nature of the topic may induce a chillier reaction on the part of the nation’s drivers. When it comes to humor (and especially oil-related comedy), Spirit may have proven that it’s best not to go to the well too often.

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Honorable mention

These may be the bottom five, but Spirit has had many other low points in its sales over the past couple of years. Who could forget the Mullet sale, with that airline/hairline reference to “business in the front, party in the back”? And of course, there was the spinoff D.I.L.F. sale, which celebrated Father’s Day with its “Dad I'll Love Forever” message, though the more cynical among us might claim that D.I.L.F. was actually a lewd double entendre best not expressed in polite company.

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Reader Comments

Whoever does marketing and ad design for Spirit should be fired immediately.

Posted on July 24, 2008 at 10:39 AM by Stop Smoking

Listen it might have been tasteless but it worked lol. after all we are here commenting on these advertisements. LOL

Posted on July 24, 2008 at 10:39 AM by Online Advertising

"...without further ADIEU"???
:D

Before starting to bash others - without further ADO - I'd have a quick check in my own backyard ;)

Happy English! :)

Posted on July 24, 2008 at 12:25 PM by D.

I love Spirit's sales and look forward to them. They're about the only funny thing going in this doomed airline environment. If the airlines are going down let them do so in huge flames and sirens!

Posted on July 25, 2008 at 02:15 PM by luluus

The bad part is that despite the ads Spirits sales are such shams. Especially from and to NY. WTF, they get my vote for the A.I.L.F.

Posted on July 25, 2008 at 03:01 PM by Bill Carter

They must have really young creative working on the campaign.

Posted on July 28, 2008 at 12:06 PM by RPO

I enjoyed my frist spirit vacation 10 days ago. I did not see any ads that offended me. I just discovered Spirit
about 6 wks ago. Whatever... their fares are good and the total vacation was a bargain and enjoyable with no missteps. Airfare, hotel and transfers. Way to go Spirit.
Keep it up.

Posted on July 28, 2008 at 09:01 PM by P Wilson

REally? the deals were that good? and no problems?

If its cheap they can offend me all they like .

Posted on July 29, 2008 at 02:38 PM by Recruiting Services

I can't believe they call this an airline, who running this business the owners kids? no flights on time, can't reach any agents, won't return calls. pretty bad services!!! and when you say cheap! I quess I should play the kids something, maybe a dollar twenty-five cents should do. And maybe that to much.

Posted on August 04, 2008 at 07:40 PM by William

I love the Spirit ads...Some people need to lighten up!...I fly Spirit all the time and my flights have always been on time and sometimes even a little early which was nice....The $9 flights to The Bahamas are great!

Posted on August 13, 2008 at 09:43 AM by Jeff

holy turbulence batman. spirit was probably the rockiest flight i was ever on

Posted on October 08, 2008 at 09:48 AM by chicken recipes

"Ado" is actually correct...


http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/without+further+ado

Posted on January 03, 2012 at 11:52 AM by JOC

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