Song is ending, but Delta vows to apply its marketing lessons

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Song is going out on a sour note, but the low-cost airline's marketing innovations will live on at bankrupt parent Delta Air Lines, reflecting the appeal to fliers of premium amenities pioneered by the likes of Jet Blue.

Joanne Smith, president of Song, was named VP-consumer marketing at Delta last week after the carrier shut down its money-losing subsidiary. Delta plans to incorporate some of the best features of Song, such as live TV and its music service, into the parent airline's operations, CEO Gerald Grinstein said. Song was also known for its gourmet food and flight attendant uniforms designed by Kate Spade.

Delta, the nation's second-largest airline, filed for bankruptcy in September. Song, introduced in 2003, was seen as a financial burden for the parent company, although Delta never released separate financials for its subsidiary.

"Joanne Smith brings the energy and marketing expertise to our consumer-marketing team that we need to continue improving the customer experience on Delta," said Paul Matsen, Delta's chief marketing officer. "Her leadership will ensure the efficiencies, service enhancements and innovations of Song are integrated into Delta's ongoing transformation."

Going on

Song will continue to fly as a separate brand until May 2006. The aircraft will then be scheduled on high-demand routes throughout the Delta network, replacing wide-body aircraft that will be re-deployed from domestic to international destinations as part of the largest international expansion in Delta's history. Delta will reconfigure the Song fleet to add business-class seating.

Delta spent $5.5 million on media advertising for Song through the first six months of the year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

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