Business

Southwest Unveils ‘Heartlanta’ Campaign, Fare Sale

Southwest Airlines entered the Atlanta market in February 2012 through its merger with AirTran Airways. Southwest finished integrating AirTran in December and is now focused on gaining domestic market share at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Southwest Airlines entered the Atlanta market in February 2012 through its merger with AirTran Airways. Southwest finished integrating AirTran in December and is now focused on gaining domestic market share at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE News

Three years to the month after Southwest Airlines began service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Dallas-based carrier kicked off a campaign Monday aimed directly at luring local travelers.

Southwest calls it “Heartlanta.”

An audio version of this story

The kitschy advertisements feature smiling faces, dancing Atlanta-based employees and Southwest planes crossing the screen in dramatic slow motion.

“Hey Atlanta,” a female voice says at the start of the 15-second commercial. “You know how we know this is a real relationship? We’re picking you up at the airport.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4NgFo0F57s&feature=youtu.be

The advertisements are meant to reinforce the brand’s image as the friendly, down-home carrier. But Southwest’s latest campaign is also the latest battle in the war for Atlanta market share. Delta remains the dominant carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson, accounting for about seven out of every 10 flights.

“We present a real, resonate alternative to the legacy carrier,” Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins says, taking care not to mention Delta Air Lines by name.

He doesn’t have to, as the advertisements leave little question.

“Atlanta: We don’t care if you’re diamond, platinum or pewter,” claims another commercial. “Heart means you don’t need miles to earn these smiles.”

The advertisement, which also debuted Monday, aims squarely at Delta’s frequent flier program. Delta recently made news for changing its SkyMiles program to better reward high-dollar fares. Delta’s shift means it will take longer for those flying on the lowest-fare tickets to earn a free trip. (Worth noting: Southwest’s  revamped Rapid Rewards program also gives more frequent flier points to passengers who spring for higher fares.)

Aside from the ad campaign, Southwest also announced a fare sale for some Atlanta routes.

Examples include round-trip fares to Washington-Reagan (DCA) airport for $98 and Los Angeles (LAX) for $198.  The restricted fares are good for travel through May 20.

Travelers will likely have to wait a few days to see if Delta matches the promotional prices, as Delta generally announces fare sales mid-week.