Leave it to Spirit to go where other airlines fear to tread.
The latest assault on conventional notions of good taste: their ad promoting Mexico vacation packages, which refers none too obliquely to the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal currently roiling New York City.
Currently dominating the airline’s homepage is an animated graphic featuring a cartoon character that’s a Mexican luchador (masked wrestler) crossed with a hot dog, holding a cellphone. The ad copy alludes to Carlos Danger, Weiner’s online alter ego, and gleefully proclaims, “This summer, the Weiner rises again.”
Clicking on the ad takes you to a sales page where the following is revealed: “Critics are raving about our latest production ‘The Weiner Rises Again,’ but they are also raving about our latest deal to Mexico!”
Of course there is no film or other production of “The Weiner Rises Again” beyond the animated ad itself.
It’s funny, in a lewd and kinda nasty way, the type of humor that’s guaranteed to provoke guffaws from high school boys and finger-wagging from dour moralists.
The latest Weiner ads are nothing new for Spirit. The company used Weiner’s woes as a punchline two years ago, when his sexting indiscretions first came to light. And during the BP oil spill, their ads cheekily referenced the oil—suntan oil, that is—on view at their beach destinations. And so on.
The crassness is intentional.
Is it effective? Yesterday the company reported a 17.6 percent revenue increase over last year, and its best-ever second-quarter profit margins.
It looks like Spirit’s strategy of promoting its low fares with tacky ads and nickel and diming its customers with fees is a winner. Weiners and all.
Reader Reality Check
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This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.