The Stinky Sandwich this time goes to AirTran Airways and their commercial with the grandparents visiting their infant grandchildren. Tacky is what I would call it. The scenario of the thirty-second spot involves a set of grandparents coming to visit their twin grandchildren. They show up in a taxi at their daughter’s house. The parents of the children have conned the frail older couple by secretly buying AirTran tickets for a "getaway" trip. Then when grand ma and grandpa show up they high tail it out of the house and shove the babies in the grandparent’s arms on the way. The taxi with the parents squeals away as the grandfather shuffles after the taxi desperately yelling, "Don't leave us with the babies!" Nice.
I found a web forum dedicated to parents of twins, most of whom thought the spot was mildly amusing. None of them commented on the deception of the parents though. Now, I can believe that twins are a handful. Double trouble as the old saying goes. I can believe any parent of twins or otherwise like a little personal time now and then. This commercial however leads you to believe it is ok to lie to your own elderly parents. It leads you to believe that it is ok to leave your children's safety in the hands of two people who might just not be able to take care of them as well as when they were younger. It is also disrespectful of senior citizens showing a usual stereotype of doddering, clueless types.
AirTran can dish out tasteless stereotypes, but they cannot take evidently. They complained in 2005 about another ad that satirizes low cost carriers as AirTran is and has been since their origination as Valujet. That was a Budweiser radio spot in 2005 part of the successful "Real Men of Genius," campaign.
Entitled, "Mr. Discount Airline Pilot Guy," the ad implies that pilots for low cost carriers are bottom of the barrel types, or as the ad states, "Your minimal experience flying a plane will never land you at a reputable airline. Luckily, you don't work for one," and "You put the fly in fly-by-night operation." AirTran CEO, Joe Leonard told the Wall Street Journal in October of 2005, "You may deem the commercial to be satirical, but I find it highly offensive."
Budweiser apologized for the ad stating, "This campaign was meant to poke fun at slices of everyday life, but this execution clearly crossed the line and is in poor taste," read the statement. "We extend our apologies to pilots and everyone in the airline industry."
Mr. Leonard you may deem your commercial with the grandparents highly satirical, but if I were a senior and or a grandparent, I would find it highly offensive also. I wonder if we will hear them, apologizing like Budweiser did. If they do, I will de-stinky them, until then, they get a moldy one.
Thanks for reading Gentleman Agitator.