Commercial Analysis

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“We Don’t Charge For Bags.” Great.

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Ignoring the reasons why many airlines charge for luggage (they, like banks who charge petty fees and the excessive sponsorship seen in professional sports, are so strapped for cash, so burdened by a taxation and regulatory system stacked against big businesses that they’re desperate to try anything to turn a profit), South West Airlines is doing something that, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t all that remarkable.  So why are they able to promote it as if it were?

Of course, in a free market, a competitive advantage such as this one is a wonderful thing which should be openly and unapologetically promoted.  However, what South West has done in this commercial – with it’s confrontational, revolutionary, and most strikingly proletarian tone – is not to promote their own airline’s value, but instead to smear their competitor’s (alleged) lack of it.

The implicit message throughout this commercial is that the only reason why a passenger would ever pay an extra fee to have his luggage transported is because of plain, naked, irrational greed on the part of the airline.  South West appears to be denouncing that greed, and in doing so, it hopes to cash in on the anti-corporate, anti-profit sentiment so much of the public holds.  They’re saying, in effect: “We may be a corporation too, but really – deep down in our hearts – we’re just like the rest of you.  We agree that in an ideal world nothing would cost anything, and we’re trying our best to live up to that ideal.”  This is amplified by the fact that they have the baggage handlers themselves, instead of management, narrarating the commerical.

Why can’t SouthWest simply explain, in a succinct and artistic way, why it’s profit margins are not so low that it has to charge for luggage?  Why do they have to, instead, turn an innocuous economic detail into a pseudo-social protest in order to appeal to the public?

Yet another example of short-term thinking capitalists appealing to anti-capitalist sentiment in order to make a profit.  With capitalists such as these, it shouldn’t be a mystery why America is becoming more and more socialist with each passing day.

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Written by commercialanalysis

October 19, 2009 at 2:42 am

Posted in Transportation

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