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: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25009304/from/ET/.
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.