As you may have seen, Samoa Air recently announced that it would begin charging airfare based on passenger and luggage weight. I think most of us can agree that while it makes sense, there are not too many things that are more personal and incendiary ways to ruin the marketing department's day. It might be fair, but it's a marketer's nightmare. I shudder to think about the marketing nightmare when the gate agent tries to charge someone for the weight of their wheelchair or other medically necessary device.
I'm not sure how Samoa Air's marketing department missed it, but pairing a brand line like "The Sky's the Limit!" with the new policy seems like the Marketing and Pricing functions are out of alignment.There is further evidence of the lack of alignment in the company's mission statement, "…Our goal: to provide our customers an experience that is seamlessly easy, comfortable and enjoyable."
And, prior to the announcement, the marketing team probably should have scrubbed the site of some of their "happy passengers" pictures that don't fit pricing teams target demographic.
Then there is the CEO, who was quoted as saying, "It's always going to be a sensitive issue; we try to keep it lighthearted and try to keep people on the positive side, particularly for those that are carrying a fair bit of bulk." I can't imagine that the CEO was coached by a marketing professional to refer to their passengers as "bulky."
Which really brings me to the point of this rant…Why is it that marketers so often find themselves cleaning up after the elephant parade? Marketers need to get out in front of these issues and then maybe we will stop writing about the battles between the Marketing department and the Fill-in-the-blank department.