The effort, via Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago, centers on a series of cheeky ads about in-flight "Internetiquette." The ads have Graves reprising his airline-captain role from the "Airplane" comedy films to discusses the rules of airborne Internet surfing.
The trio of new ads has him admonishing viewers not to auction fellow passengers' belongings and making sure photos in one's online gallery are suitable for public viewing. Graves stands at the cockpit door while explaining various Internet do's and don'ts. In the online auction spot, he actually references a line from "Airplane," saying: "You'll never miss the opportunity to buy something you don't want to pay full price for ... like gladiator movies."
After Graves introduces the topic, the ads cut to in-flight views of passenger behavior. In one ad, which encourages people to watch personal Internet slide shows with discretion, two women watch a guy's personal slide show on his laptop while he -- sitting between them -- takes a nap. They smile at the scenes of the guy camping and fishing until a slide appears showing him shirtless, and one woman recoils in horror at his profusion of body fur. The other woman, however, seems interested.
The three new spots are at http://www.airtran.com/internetiquette/, and versions of them sans Graves will hit the airwaves this week. The campaign also includes radio and out-of-home to run in select markets. The effort uses AirTran's tag: "Go. There's nothing stopping you."
A company spokesperson says the media buy is regional, "but it's going to eventually be a campaign that will be everywhere," she says, adding that the company will launch new ads in September to tout Wi-Fi TV. The new in-flight Wi-Fi service ranges from $7.95 to $12.95, depending on usage, per the representative.
AirTran is putting its guide, "To Keeping Everyone In Line, While They're Online," in airplane seat backs, and the carrier has also refreshed its Web site to reflect the marketing push.
The Orlando, Fla.-based company, with 136 planes, is the second-largest carrier using Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport as operations hub. The company, which makes 700 flights per day to 63 cities, added five domestic cities -- Burlington, Vt.; Columbus, Ohio; Harrisburg, Pa.; San Antonio, Texas; and San Juan, Puerto Rico -- last year, and so far this year has added Cancun, Mexico, and Branson, Mo.
AirTran posted double-digit growth from 2000 through 2007, and then last year reported 4.9% growth, a decrease it attributed to fuel costs, and the sluggish economy. Expanded service notwithstanding, the company last year reduced capacity by 7% in the last quarter and said it would reduce capacity this year, as well.