This much is clear -- very clear -- from several of the new TV commercials low-fare behemoth Southwest Airlines and its ad agency GSD&M Idea City/Austin are launching today. The "Grab You Bag. It's On!" theme isn't going away from the Southwest marketing game plan.
If anything, Southwest, in this latest round of spots, is getting more aggressive about promoting its "bags fly free" policy. In one of the new spots, a group of real Southwest baggage handlers is seen rushing towards another plane on the tarmac that, based on the livery, appears to belong to AirTran, though the carrier's name has been blocked out on screen. The baggage handlers stop before reaching the plane, collectively lift their shirts to reveal a message about the Southwest baggage policy emblazoned on their collective bellies. A female passenger seen in a seat inside the plane looks out and obviously gets the message. It would be hard to miss, if we were in her place.
Other spots in the new series show more real Southwest employees (no pretty and perfectly-toned actors anywhere in sight) touting, among other things, free snacks and point-to-point flights, all trademarks of Southwest service. We like Southwest's decision to use real employees in its new spots. They lend a note of veracity to the work -- which can't hurt, given that so many viewers tend to cast a suspicious eye on advertising when picture-perfect people are seen trying to sell them on something.
Meanwhile, Southwest will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its start of service to Midway Airport on Wednesday, Mar. 17, with some speeches and the presentation of a gift to airport officials at the Southwest main ticketing desk at Midway.