Bravo, Spirit. Your humorous writing caught my attention and led me to your website, and now I find myself perusing airfare for an island escape. In the direct-marketing world, this would appear to be a win. And that's not to mention the clear media victories. With this 48-hour sale, Spirit Airlines evoked daylong commentary from witty tweeters.
But does this win for Sprint mean the company will become a winning investment? Not necessarily. Spirit recently listed on the Nasdaq, but in spite of the IPO mania that's sweeping other industries, the company received a less-visible public introduction than other recent debuts have. And it's no secret that the airline industry is one of the most competitive, cutthroat industries around. With margins that are tight under even normal operating conditions, the airlines are feeling even more strain as rising fuel prices further threaten to cut into profits.
It'd be easy to dismiss Spirit's promotion as a one-time edgy, buzz-generating ad that will come and go, but it also speaks to a companywide character. In an industry where companies have few advantages over their competitors, something like this campaign can have lasting effects. Just look at JetBlue
On its own, Spirit's promotion might not change the business. But in a competitive airline environment, I like to see a company that's having fun and carving out its own unique personality. What appears to be a fun one-time ad could be evidence of an airline company set to separate itself from the pack.
Fool contributor Maggie Muraca owns no shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. Follow her on Twitter @MaggieMuraca. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Southwest Airlines. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.