Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Weigh in on This!

Philadelphia Media Holdings, the company that owns the Inquirer and Daily News, was the first to do a report on Derrie-Air (the world's first carbon-neutral airline), the first airline to offer flights based upon the weight of the passengers. Flights from Philadelphia to Chicago were $1.40 for every pound; L.A. for $2.25 a pound.

The ads and web site drew a tremoundous amount of interest and traffic. By all indications the promotion was a huge success. There's only one big catch.

It was joke. Or rather a creative means of measuring the effective of its own online and print media. You see, Philadelphia Media Holdings had worked with an ad agency, Gyro, to develop the campaign and test its offerings.

The link to the NBC10 story is here:

While it's clever, and was very effective, I'm not ready to call it genius. And here's why. Prepare to laugh or cry.

Way back when I was a kid, for my grandparents' anniversary dinner, my family (mom,dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents) went to what was at the time a rather popular restaurant. The concept of 'pay as you weigh' is not new to me thanks to this restaurant. You see, they priced the children's buffet based upon the weight of the child. Not the adults - that would have been crazy!?!

Anyway, all the other kids stepped on the scale and were fine. But, when it came to my cousin and I - not the same story. Our parents did a good job of ushering the other kids out of the way so they wouldn't see what they already knew - Jim and Mike are big guys. This happened for a few years and then the place closed. For the record, Mike and I had nothing to do with it.

At that time nobody knew my cousin would be a hell of a football player or that I would end up playing international rugby. So everything turned out alright, but now you know why I hesitate to give the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News the 'genius' stamp just yet. Valiant effort but there's something to be said for being first.

Still, a great way of doing something every marketing professional should do - measuring results.

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Blogger Adam said...

Wow! Boy am I glad that concept didn't take off. I would be in some serious financial trouble.

The part about this campaign/hoax is that it seemed to have caused some attention. I like ideas like this that get out there and grab your attention. Even if it ruffles a few feathers, they got some people paying attention. Guerilla Marketing is very powerful when used correctly.

3:01 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Great to hear your reactions to this campaign. Thanks for joining the conversation!


3:15 PM

Blogger ScLoHo (Scott Howard) said...

I first heard this story on a local afternoon radio talk show. When I heard the punch line, that it was a stunt, I saw several sides to the whole campaign:
1. They proved that a campaign can draw consumers to a website.
2. The newspaper was not the reason people went to the website. The idea behind the campaign and the execution of the idea is what worked. It could have been done on any traditional mass media, such as TV, radio, Billboards, with the same results.
3. The current newspaper advertisers should look for an equally creative campaign from the paper, then the paper can talk about real life success stories. But that doesn't get talked about on radio stations across the country.

8:55 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


These are great observations. Much appreciated! I really liked the challenge you issued regarding the newspaper's current advertisers. Thanks for add to the conversation!


1:07 PM


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