Creative Works Advertising Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines uncovers the story behind every seat in ‘Transfarency’ campaign from GSD&M


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

September 24, 2017 | 4 min read

No-frills air carrier Southwest is introducing a new campaign inspired by the reasons why customers fly the airline, and it breaks the mold of what you might think of your seatmate. The campaign, ‘Behind Every Seat is a Story, Behind Every Story is the Reason for Transfarency’ tells the real stories behind the airline’s passengers.

Southwest coach

Southwest coach

The campaign kicks off with the ad, 'Vignette,' during the Sunday football games. Other spots, ‘New Parents,’ ‘Coach,’ and ‘Grandma,’ highlight the emotional reasons Southwest’s customers travel. From wanting to break your mom out of a nursing home and take her to Belize, to catching a direct flight only to come home with the most precious cargo, a newly adopted baby girl, the campaign brings to life that behind every seat is a story. The creative shines a light on Southwest as the brand with compassion and an understanding for its Customer’s needs; all the reasons that have made Southwest the obvious choice for travel since day one.

Southwest Airline’s chief marketing officer Ryan Green said: “Logic doesn’t apply to why we do things with heart because Southwest isn’t a company of planes, we are a company of people. The emotional stories told through this campaign are important because they show what Transfarency makes possible for people: life adventures and meaningful experiences. Nothing rings more true to Southwest’s reason for existence than the simple truth that, behind every seat is a story, behind every story is the reason for Transfarency.”

The campaign is supported across TV, digital, social media, radio, OOH, in airport and more. From long-form spots running on national TV to short-form content being shared across digital and social, it is designed to reach every potential Southwest customer. In addition to digital activations, every story told throughout the duration of the campaign – 175 stories in total for every seat on Southwest Airlines’ new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane – will live on the hub, an online destination. The airline created buzz around the campaign was through the Adventure Giveaway, a scavenger hunt that sent fans running around ten Southwest cities for the opportunity to win a travel story of a lifetime.

GSD&M’s chief creative officer Jay Russell said: “Heart is at the center of everything Southwest Airlines does. The purpose of this next phase of Transfarency is to connect customers emotionally with the purpose of the philosophy, which is being able to jump on a plane when the most important event of your life happens, and being able to cancel without worry when it doesn’t. For the first time, Southwest is telling the story of Transfarency by telling the customer’s story. It’s simple, powerful and heartfelt, and most importantly something only Southwest Airlines could do authentically.”

The Transfarency campaign launched in 2015 and focused on the carrier’s low-fare message and newly refreshed livery and interior. The 2016 campaign launched in two phases including the renewal of Wanna Get Away and Yes, which emphasized what it feels like to hear yes rather than no in today’s airline industry. The 2017 campaign builds on Transfarency through the telling of customer stories.

The campaign will have a social element with #175Stories across Southwest Airlines’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Southwest: advert-body-2 by GSD&M

By Southwest

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Creative Works Advertising Southwest Airlines

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