Southwest ties $30 mil effort to NFL

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To emphasize its relationship with the National Football League, Southwest Airlines breaks an approximately $30 million football-themed network TV campaign Sept. 6.

Creative for the five-week effort from GSD&M, Austin, Texas, is humorous and features women. One execution shows a woman in a grocery store who drops a melon, which is piled on by other female shoppers as it rolls down the aisle.

The tag: "Must be football season."

Another spot shows two businesswomen who headbutt before entering a conference room.

Ads will run on ABC, CBS, Fox and ESPN during football games.


The ads "are going to be on every game people see," said Joyce Rogge, Southwest's VP-advertising and promotion.

Southwest has been an NFL sponsor since the middle of last fall, and is the official airline of the Super Bowl. It negotiated its sponsorship in midseason.

"People get fanatical about football this time of year and we played that to an extreme," said Brian Brooker, creative director at GSD&M. "We thought to have women, rather than stereotypical men, diving or doing the headbutts was a better surprise."

Ms. Rogge said the airline may serve 5% to 7% more women than other carriers.

Though the campaign has little to do with travel or flying, Mr. Brooker explained: "We're fans of the game and hope that we've tapped into the mindset of the fan and that would rub off on Southwest."

The airline spent more than $100 million on measured media in 1997, making it the largest U.S. airline advertiser.

Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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