I certainly agree that the advertising area seems weak outiside of Denver - but seems like that is the strategy for the moment.
This was exactly the question raised to our advertising department from a recent newsletter -
I understand the cost involved in national TV
and print ads. However … we started new Cancun non-stop service from Indianapolis and didn't even get a banner for the check-in counter! Our loads are VERY LOW. It seems that something could be done even in the counter area at the airport so our Indy to Denver pax see that we fly nonstop to Cancun. The Frontier Web site didn't even have a mention of the new service to attract attention. Seems costly to go out with empty planes vs. cost of a “little bit” of advertising.
Customer Service Agent
Director of Advertising Diane Willman responds:
Your question could not have come at a more opportune time. We have just begun a system-wide program of in-airport advertising via stanchion inserts that are dedicated to marketing messages. The messages will be about substantive news and/or initiatives undertaken by Frontier such as our new Web site and new service to Calgary and between LA
. And, the messages are delivered in a very-engaging and brand appropriate voice as you can see below.
Here's also another snippet of Frontier's marketing mentality:
Your Advertising Questions Answered
As Frontier employees – at least those of us in Denver – you’re undoubtedly asked by family and friends about our commercials more than anything else. And you probably have a few questions yourselves, such as, “Why don’t we advertise in other markets?”
The Connections team recently sat down with Director of Advertising Diane Willman to answer that question and find out what Frontier’s advertising plan is for the coming fiscal year.
The current advertising campaign
Following the “Let Flip Fly” campaign, Frontier began a new campaign that highlights many of our airline’s strengths. The campaign began with the “Get More” message, which can be seen on signs at the hub and stations.
This initial advertisement represents the overall theme of our current advertising campaign. While Frontier has historically focused on our low ticket prices, with a new competitor in town, we’re now pointing out that in addition to low ticket prices, we have new planes, comfy seats, DIRECTV, a superb on-time record, and so on.
Another, less obvious feature of the campaign is that it makes no references to our competition. As Diane said, we are running our own race. Instead of pointing out what we see as our competitors’ faults, we’re simply pointing out many of our airline’s outstanding features.
Diane said that the phrase “You don’t pay more, you get more” is what’s known in the advertising and marketing industries as a value statement – basically telling customers why your product or service is a good value for them. A typical value statement is more akin to “you pay more and you get more” – think luxury car brands. By saying “You don’t pay more, you get more,” Frontier is telling potential customers that not only will they pay a great price for their ticket, but they will get all sorts of unique perks. Using the car analogy again, it would be like a budget car company promoting its leather seats, superb handling and GPS controls.
Basically, we are trying to walk fine line of focusing on our strengths while maintaining our message that our customers are still paying less to fly Frontier. Diane summarized the campaign as saying, “We have a superior product and you don’t pay more to get it.”
The next step
The value statement established, Frontier will then use its ads to focus on individual strengths one-by-one. Diane said we will point out what our strengths are, while explaining to customers why they’re important. You may have seen the beginnings of this campaign in the TV
commercial where Grizwald misunderstands the meaning of “non-stop” and keeps rolling after reaching DIA.
In this stage of the campaign, Frontier is making sure customers understand exactly why less-obvious benefits like on-time performance are perks they should consider when deciding whom to fly. Everyone gets why DIRECTV is good; not everyone understands the benefit of non-stop flights.
“Why don’t we advertise nationally?”
Quite simply, because we used to, and it wasn’t effective, Diane said. The campaigns Frontier ran in other markets cost a great deal of money and produced too small a return to justify the money spent. So, with the rebranding of the airline in 2002, Frontier’s advertising department focused on spending its budget where the money would produce the best results: Denver.
The Denver-based advertising has done wonders for our airline in its hometown, as you well know. Its effectiveness, Diane said, is owed to the fact that we worked to establish brand awareness in Denver. That simply means that we don’t need to explain who/what Frontier is in every advertisement, which has allowed us to do much more with our advertising here. Consider how effective the Flip to Mexico campaign would be in any other market – needless to say, a lot of TV
viewers would be confused.
All of this is not to say the advertising department does not want to advertise outside of Denver – it just wants to do it right. According to Diane, the Advertising department learned three main lessons from its prior national advertising:
1. A spread-out approach is not effective; we must focus our funds
2. The approach should be integrated and go beyond just advertising (think the Flip yard signs)
3. The campaign must be sustained and requires a bigger media budget
As soon as the Advertising department can afford to launch a campaign in another market that encompasses those three things, it certainly will.
We’ll close with a word of advice. If ever you hear “I love Frontier, but a certain other airline’s prices are so low,” be sure to point out that with Frontier you don’t pay more, you get more.