Would You Fly on an Airline Called “Derrie-Air”?


From the Responsible Marketing blog comes this story about a mythical airline called "Derrie-Air".  It seems that the two local Philladelphia newspapers, The Enquirer and The Daily News decided to do a test of their print and on-line advertising.  The ads ran in various sizes and in various sections of the two papers and on the Philly.com home page.

The results?  Well there was an outcry from some folks who felt the papers were being deceptive by running the ads with no disclaimers.  A careful reading of the ads should have alerted readers that there was something funny going on.  For example, "Derrie-Air"?  C’mon.  Who’d fly on an airline with a name like that?  Anyone saying  "Pick me up at the airport.  I’ll be flying Derrie-Air." would surely be the butt of a lot of jokes.

If the name didn’t raise a red flag the terms of their offer should have.  The theme of the ad was reducing carbon emissions.  "Derrie-Air, the world’s first carbon-neutral airline."  To achieve this lofty goal the fictional airline charges passengers by the pound of combined body weight and luggage."  To offset the airlines carbon emissions they plan to plant 128,000 sycamores in the Derrie Forest by 2010. 

The airline’s amenities include "private washrooms outfitted with porcelain fixtures and gilded faucets" and digital cable.

You can see the ad on the "airline’s" web site, http://www.flyderrie-air.com.  Be sure to read the story of the airline’s founder, Dick Derrie" who supposedly lives in Salamander, MO and is the state’s richest man.  His father lives in a castle that Dick had imported, block by block, from Scotland.  Supposedly Dick’s interest in the environment was triggered by his fear that his grandsons might not be able to hunt alligators on his marshy wetlands.  (Hint:  There’s not an alligator within 500 miles of Missouri, except for a few in zoos.)

So, how did the ad do?  The online version of the ad drew an extremely high 1.25% click-through rate compared to a national average click-through of 0.5%.  I guess no one wanted to be left behind.   There’s no way of knowing how many web site visitors were in on the joke and how many actually thought they were going to be able to fly to Dallas for $1.60/pound.  But it does show that creative advertising works.

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