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|Ads add up for airlines, but some fliers say it's too much|| Rate Topic
|Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2011 11:07 am||
Go Yankees !!!
For a cool $14 million, you can advertise for a year on the exterior of every Spirit Airlines jet.
If that's too steep, consider plunking down $196,000 for three months of ads on the overhead bins in Spirit's planes, $119,000 for ads on the tray tables or $18,500 for ads on air-sickness bags.
Spirit, along with Europe's leading cut-rate airline Ryanair, are unashamed industry leaders at generating ancillary revenue by seemingly renting every inch of in-flight display space to advertisers.
But they're just leading the way. A growing number of U.S. airlines — perhaps emboldened by billions of dollars of extra revenue collected annually for bag fees — are reaching out to advertisers, too.
Ads are appearing not only on overhead bins, seat backs and tray tables but on flight attendants' aprons, snack boxes and napkins.
And in announcements by flight crews and even in safety videos.
That's sacrilege to some fliers who view a plane — and a few hours alone in the air without a cellphone or other interruption — as a respite from life on the ground, the office, home or even the airport. To and from the boarding gate, travelers face ads in taxis, at ticket kiosks, on airport walls, billboards and digital screens, in jetways and on baggage carousels.
"I get aggravated by advertising during the flight," says Memphis-based frequent flier Trey Block, the chief financial officer of a chemical distribution company. "Anywhere inside a cabin is inappropriate."
Block and frequent business traveler Michael Sommer, of Jacksonville, say they were annoyed by a Lincoln automobile commercial that was shown before Delta Air Lines' pre-flight safety video.
"Safety should be the primary concern, and if it's Delta's priority, then why distract someone's attention from the video screen?" says Sommer, who works as a consultant. "As soon as I see the advertisement, I look away and go back to what I was doing."
This month, Delta added a welcome by CEO Richard Anderson and began running the Lincoln commercial after the safety demonstration. That doesn't appease Sommer.
"I pay for a ticket to get from point A to point B safely," he says. "If they want to bombard me with advertising, then give me a discount."
A discount isn't likely. Nobody has exact figures on how much airlines make selling advertising. Airlines don't divulge it. But the revenue is large enough that no marketing expert foresees a rollback.
Airlines realize airfares cannot be the sole source of revenue and are constantly looking for new sources, says Michael Houston, an associate dean at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.
"If they can attract more advertising revenue, they will be in a better position to keep airfares from going up too rapidly," he says.
Backlash at ads?
Some marketing experts warn that the airlines may be going too far.
Marketing consultant Bruce Silverman, a former creative director at three of the largest ad agencies, says many frequent fliers "regard their in-flight experience as their private time, when they can hold normal intrusions of the outside world at bay."
The growth of in-flight advertising "is repellent to these passengers" — an "insult" to paying customers, he says.
"There is already too much advertising clutter in the world," Silverman says. "I truly believe advertisers who choose to intrude on airline passengers are likely to lose — not gain — customers."
Tobe Berkovitz, an associate professor of advertising at Boston University, likens the aircraft cabin to a movie theater and says "airplanes have become one of many environments where advertising clutter has proliferated."
He says moviegoers years ago complained about having to watch commercials after buying tickets, but theater owners didn't stop reaching for the extra revenue.
"It's the same for airlines," Berkovitz says. "At least you could walk out of a movie. Good luck walking out of an airplane."
Some business travelers say magazines — in which readers can choose whether to look at ads — should be the only place for them in cabins.
"I would like to see the advertising restricted to the airline's magazine," says Robert Milk, a management consultant in Glen Allen, Va. "The remainder is garish and a turnoff."
Houston, of the University of Minnesota, says too much advertising aimed at fliers "could certainly backfire," but it is unclear whether an airline's image would suffer.
"The backlash could be against the advertiser," he says.
Always seeking revenue
Neither the airlines nor advertisers seem concerned about any pushback.
If anything, airlines are looking for more ways to sell ads, because they like the revenue, and advertisers like their captive audience.
Revenue from airline tickets, advertising and other sources such as fees doesn't cover airlines' operating costs, says Steve Lott, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association of America, which represents U.S. airlines.
"Airlines need to be sustainably profitable to be able to invest in their people, their product and continue to serve markets," he says. "As with other modes of transportation and other industries, including sports and entertainment, advertising revenue helps offset the high costs faced by the airline industry."
Carol Thiel, American Airlines' managing director of marketing solutions, says the carrier's in-flight advertising "is a win for everyone."
Passengers receive special offers, such as free in-flight Wi-Fi or bonus frequent-flier miles, and advertisers can share information on their products and brands, she says. "And the airline benefits from having a customer that is more engaged, while generating some incremental revenue."
In-flight advertising is effective because the traveler is captive on the plane and there are "limited distractions," says Ryan Matway, president of Air Advertainment. His company provides the snack boxes with display ads that US Airways gives, free, to passengers.
Matway says the snack boxes create goodwill, because passengers don't have to pay for them. They're more effective than a quick 15-second commercial, because they may sit for 15 minutes in front of a passenger, he says.
GuestLogix, which provides airlines with handheld credit card readers, last year launched a service that prints advertisements on receipts issued to passengers.
"Airline passengers are among the greatest consumers in the world," the company says. "They are focused shoppers with a strong appetite to purchase."
Advertising in aircraft "is a unique way to reach a very affluent customer and allows a brand to differentiate its delivery channel over a competitor," Thiel says. "For advertisers, an aircraft can be an effective medium, because it allows them to inform the public about their products at the right time in a relatively uncluttered medium."
Spirit Airlines spokeswoman Misty Pinson says on-board ads have the highest ad recall rate of all media.
"These results are unachievable with traditional advertising mediums," she says. "We provide an environment where cellphones are turned off and the consumer is stationary with the ability to focus on nothing but your brand for an average of three hours."
On Nov. 1, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority will begin six months of advertising in Spirit jets on overhead bins, middle-seat tray tables, bulkheads, boarding passes and ticket jackets.
Nasdaq will advertise on the aisle and window tray tables for the next three months. The Colombian region of Quindío begins advertising on seat back inserts next month, and flight attendants are wearing aprons advertising the Colombian beach-resort city Cartagena de Indias.
Setting limits on ads
Still, some airlines say they're conscious about not bombarding passengers. And some are careful about who they let advertise.
Southwest tries "not to hit customers with too many advertising messages," says spokeswoman Ashley Dillon. "Our goal is to keep the messages travel-related and focused on Southwest products."
The airline has a long-term partnership with SeaWorld, and three airplanes painted with Shamu, a killer whale. In the past, Southwest painted a Slam Dunk One aircraft for the National Basketball Association and other aircraft for states it served.
JetBlue has planes painted for business partner DirecTV and two sports teams it sponsors, the New York Jets football team and the Utah-based soccer team Real Salt Lake.
Southwest and JetBlue say their planes are painted only for marketing partners and sponsors, and no ad space is for sale on the exterior of their jets.
Other companies' advertising on JetBlue's in-seat TV and seat-back cards enables the airline to provide passengers with free amenities, including 36 channels of in-seat TV and name-brand snacks and drinks, says spokeswoman Allison Steinberg.
"Advertising helps us invest our funds into the product, so we get a better experience for the customer," she says.
US Airways, which has planes painted for four NFL teams it sponsors, says advertising is "an important source of revenue" that can be found, among other places, on tray tables and boarding passes.
Such advertisers as Verizon, Samsung, Yoplait, Mercedes-Benz and the History Channel have displayed ads on the airline's tables.
Jan Slater, a professor of advertising at the University of Illinois College of Media, says airports "have long been a prime advertising opportunity," but advertisers have to be more cautious about linking up with airlines.
"The advertiser is immediately aligning itself with the airline brand — and that is not always advantageous," says Slater, who is an interim dean at the university's College of Media.
"If the airline does not provide good service, has long delays, has a history of safety violations, charges for every single thing — these may be elements that another brand does not want to be associated with," Slater says.
Though many business travelers say they're bothered by the growing amount of advertising aimed at them, others aren't.
Mitch Fong of Mill Valley, Calif., says he's "not opposed to any of the advertising" he has seen, and he doesn't mind advertising on the carry-on baggage storage bins.
"The only objection I could foresee is the signage at an airport getting so cluttered I couldn't find the necessary information," says Fong, a vice president in the financial services industry.
Frequent flier Steven Gordon of Virginia Beach, has no problem with airport ads or some in-flight ads.
"Hey, isn't everything for sale to advertisers in this country?" he says.
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“You may delay, but TIME will not.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
“TIME is an illusion.” ~ Albert Einstein
|Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2011 01:50 pm||
laissez les bons temps rouler!
|i think if the airlines drop the ridiculous bag fees and such, this may have less of a backlash.
i'm flying next month on JetBlue. if there's a Delta-like ad associated with the safety vid, i'll be sure to put a magazine up in front of my face to show my displeasure
"It might be twelve o'clock and it might be three
Time doesn't mean that much to me
Ain't felt this way since I don't know when
Might not feel this way again...."
|Posted: Thu Oct 20th, 2011 02:04 pm||
|I fly a lot to and from Europe, but I must say I've never really been bothered by ads. Maybe they don't do it as much on the long haul flights... or maybe after sitting in an airport lounge for hours I'm just completely oblivious an unobservant.
Last edited on Fri Oct 21st, 2011 03:00 am by mushypeas
|Current time is 03:59 am|
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