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NBAA, Aviation Alliance Take Exception With JetBlue Ads
July 31, 2009
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  • by Benet Wilson


    It was only a matter of time before business aviation took exception to a series of advertisements by New York-based JetBlue that poke fun at the industry.

    JetBlue fired the first shot in mid-February, when it unveled the first ad, which poked fun at executives who have been forced to move over to commercial aviation after a series of PR missteps on the use of private jets. You can see the ad and my blog post on that ad here.

    But the one that set the industry off was the “Welcome Bigwigs” campaign, a series of three ads featuring a “CEO” pointing out how flying on JetBlue is just iike flying on a corporate jet. You can see my blog post on that here.

    Those ads caused Ed Bolen, President and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) to send a letter to JetBlue President and COO David Barger March 20 urging him to pull the campaign, which Kerry Lynch and I covered (subscribers only) earlier today on the Aviation Week Intelligence Network.

    And the Alliance for Aviation Across America, whose membership includes NBAA, fired off its own print ad campaign (see below), which points out that JetBlue only serves 44 big city airports around the country mostly on the East and West coasts, while general aviation serves 5,000 communities around the country.

    JetBlue spokeswoman Jenny Dervin defended the ads, noting the campaign is not anti-corporate jets or anti-CEOs. “And we have nothing against private jets. We like to think that JetBlue has 145 private jets, with leather seats, great legroom, friendly service, free snacks and even personal TVs for everyone,” she said.

    On the one hand, one can see why NBAA and the alliance felt the need to defend the industry by asking JetBlue to pull the campaign and offer its own ads to counter the airline’s effort. But on the other, it begs the question: is the industry potentially extending the reach of the campaign by responding so publicly to the ads. What do you think? Let us know.

    Date: 2009-03-23