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Spirit Airlines Brings Back “The Weiner Sale”, With a Lesson in Virality to Match!

In today’s social world, airlines everywhere are looking for the secret to using social media to build their brand image, and ultimately loyalty, among customers. As with any public relations-related endeavor, the goal is to have their paid media (advertising) and owned media (social profile) activities lead to earned media, or buzz that consumers spread about the company. Some buzz is good, more is better, and viral is best.

So what’s the scientific way to go viral? Be funny! And why do most major airlines struggle in these efforts? Because they just aren’t! Large bureaucracies, overly layered decision structures and paranoid compliance people generally squash this kind of fun. But not at Spirit Airlines!

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The Fort Lauderdale-based low-cost carrier launched its latest campaign this week, yet another play on New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s plight. The politician who can’t seem to refrain from sending pictures of places where the sun doesn’t shine to women under the social mask of “Carlos Danger” is the roast of ¬†Spirit’s “The Weiner Rises Again!” campaign to promote its services to Cancun and Los Cabos.

The ads feature a masked frank holding a cell phone, promising $24 off flights to Mexico if travelers book a vacation package. The discount is minimal; the potential for virality is not. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest bit if this sale isn’t highlighted on just about every advertising blog in the country in the coming weeks.

What makes this ad even funnier, it isn’t the first time Spirit has bagged on a humorous current event, nor the first time it played on Weiner. When his scandal was first exposed two years ago, Spirit offered “The Weiner Sale: With Fares Too Hard to Resist.”

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