A Real Estate Discussion Blog


New Airline Advertised In Newspaper- Travelers To Pay Per Pound

Does newspaper advertising work?  I know what I overwhelming hear at conference after conference, NO.  The Philadelphia Inquirer recently tried to prove that the people who are saying this may have their heads in the clouds and that yes, it does indeed work. 

Last Friday newspaper subscribers saw ads for a new airline in their paper, Derrie-Air.  The concept behind this new airline was that it takes more fuel to fly heavier things, so therefore heavier people should pay more than lighter people, so the airline would be charging by pound.  They advertised sample rates from $1.40 per pound to go from Philly to Chicago and $2.25 per pound to go from Philly to LA.  More over Southwest, there is a new airline in town touting, "The more you weigh, the more you pay".  The ads for this new airline ran throughout the paper, as well as banner advertising on Philly.com

If this sounds like an April Fools joke, it was... sort of.  The airline was fake.  However, the ad was there to serve a purpose.  Philadelphia Media Holdings spokesman Jay Devine said the goal is to "demonstrate the power of our brands in generating awareness and generating traffic for our advertisers, and put a smile on people's faces."

No traffic numbers have been released yet, but Devine is already saying that there has been a lot of buzz for the campaign, especially on blogs.   

So are we to believe that because this campaign driving a lot of traffic to a fake airline that the Philadelphia Media Holdings is advertising, that advertising in their media does indeed work as a marketing vehicle? 

I say no and that this test is invalid. 

The concept was too gimmicky for it to be applied to everyday standards.  How many people saw the ad and were legitimately interested in booking a flight and went to the website- maybe a few.  How many were totally appalled and went to the website to complain- probably a lot more.  And how many saw the ad in a news story or on a blog, exposure that a typical ad would not receive, and went to the website- my guess is an overwhelming majority. 

Another bad message this idea sends is the idea of repetition in advertising is not important.  This ad ran for one day last Friday, and look at the buzz it generated.  I have been in advertising for 10 years, even worked at a print company for 5 of them.  I know our reps talked about the value of repetition, and I am sure you all have heard from your newspaper reps as well.  Branding ads typically need to be seen over and over in order to create awareness and action.  So I guess the next time you reps visits you and wants you to sign a long term contract, you can whip out this experiment and show them how effective a one-day run can be? 

I think the idea to run a test campaign and measure the effectiveness is a great idea on the part of this newspaper.  We should all be monitoring and testing our products and services like this to some degree.  But in order for the experiment to provide real results, I think they should have used a real product.  Would the results have been the same if they made up a fake car dealership and ran ads in the auto section?  What about if they would have created a fake real estate brokerage ad and ran it in the real estate section.  Of course the results would differ, but they would have been applicable to the current set of advertisers and usable data for the newspaper.  I don't believe any results they generate from this ad are usable.  Funny, perhaps.  Valid, no. 

There are two things we can take away from this experiment.  1) Creativity works in your favor.  This ad was definitely creative and it got people's attention.  What aspect of your business can you turn into an interesting marketing tool?  2) Viral works.  While they were intially trying to use their media assets to generate a campaign, I believe it was the virual effect that really took it to the next level.  They got some random like me to write about them on my little blog.  How can you get people talking about you.  Web 2.0 is huge tool in trying to accomplish this. 

So don't worry.  Have another doughnut for breakfast this morning.  Your next airline ticket is still going to cost the same as the guy who only has a small cup of coffee! 






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Comment balloon 7 commentsSara Bonert • June 09 2008 07:57AM


Will see you at blog connect. Am looking forward to meeting so many of us there.


Posted by Gary Bolen, CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information (McCall Realty) almost 12 years ago

Hi Sara -- Okay, but don't stuff too many donuts in your bags or you'll pay an "over-weight" charge!

Posted by Terry Rasner-Yacenda, "Dreams Realty" (Broker,Owner - Dreams Realty) almost 12 years ago

This is funny and really useful information all at the same time!  As a former Global Director of Marketing for a large software company, I love it this type of marketing and the concept to demonstrate it was VERY well thought out!

Posted by Steve Shatsky almost 12 years ago

Gary- Definitely, looking forward to it!  Zillow is hosting Beer For Bloggers the night before the opening day.  I hope you'll make it. 

Terry- I have been known to stash a donut or two...  :)  I love Dunkin Donuts white cream filled ones with the chocolate frosting. 

Steve- It will be intesting to a) see the results and b) see how they use the results.  At the very least, even if the results aren't usable, they got people talking about them! 

Posted by Sara Bonert, Real Estate Internet Marketing (Zillow) almost 12 years ago

Maybe more Americans will start watching their weight and what they bring with them.

Posted by John Walters, Licensed in Louisiana (Frank Rubi Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Bogus correlation!  They can not possibly correlate the REACTION to the ad with RESPONSE to the ad.  Just goes to show you that you can bend stats to meet your purpose if you try hard enough.  Shame on them!


Posted by Ron Tarvin, Broker, Katy, Houston, Cypress 77450,77494,77095 (Residential, Investment properties, rehab projects, property management, luxury homes, new construction!) almost 12 years ago

Can't help but wounder whether weight will be the next crusade now that the smokers have been burned to "ashes"?



Posted by Greg Zaccagni, Illinois Mortgage Lender (The Federal Savings Bank) almost 12 years ago