Yes, the new Southwest Airlines ads are long on comical violence and short on patience for how rival carriers treat their business passengers. Modeled on campy shows like Wipeout, the “Business Travel Challenge” spots by GSD&M show executives in protective gear attempting ludicrous physical challenges, with hazards that represent travel headaches—baggage fees, seating restrictions, blackout dates and so on. The Southwest travelers, offered better services and routes, emerge unscathed. But those who fly the other airlines are sent flying by giant swinging dollar signs and spring-loaded calendar squares—a metaphor for the tangled state of the airline industry in general. “Beyond being just funny, we wanted to make something that was as ridiculous as the industry itself,” said GSD&M creative director Bill Marceau. “It’s literally a game you can’t win, unless you fly Southwest.”
Fliers may feel like they’ve been punched in the gut with every new airline fee so the ad portrays the perks of flying Southwest in the most literal sense by allowing its gamers to complete the course unscathed.
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