Puke And Advertising Don't Mix

joe-air_sick_cartoon_copy.jpg

There's two reasons why US Airways' decision to place advertising on air sickness bags is pointless and stupid. First off, when was the last time you puked on a plane or actually looked for or even found an air sickness bag? Not a smart media buy if you're trying to reach a crowd. Second, during the act of puking, are you normally able to focus on anything other than making sure you properly projectile the substance from your stomach? Oh, and third, do you really want to look at the bag after you fill it with puke? The only benefit any advertiser will receive from making a buy on puke bags is the press that will surround the first advertiser who decides to do so.

We'd love to see the measurement metrics on this ad medium as well. Cost Per Puke? Gallons of Puke Per Flight? Any media planner care to weigh in on this?

by Steve Hall    Jul-19-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Bad, Specialty, Strange   

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Comments



Comments

If I were selling motion sickness remedies, another mode of transport, or herbal therapy treatements, I'd be all over this opportunity. So to speak.

Posted by: Corey King on July 19, 2006 12:26 PM

Continuing that thought...think of all the fun things you could do with the inside bottom of that bag!

Posted by: Corey King on July 19, 2006 12:36 PM

I tend to read just about everything there is while held captive on an airplane, so I imagine I would see the ad. Many airlines in Europe also provide advertising on sickbags. Some even double as a pouch to put film in and bring to the appropriate film developing company. Virgin Airways did a Star Wars Episode III campaign as well. Believe it or not, there are also people that actually collect these things! Do a google search for "airline barf bags" or "airline sick bags" and you'll see what I mean!

Posted by: Sean on July 19, 2006 1:49 PM

This media could be part of the sling-fest in the upcoming election!

Posted by: Zeid on July 19, 2006 2:12 PM

Think of all the ads Pepto could put on public toilets!

Posted by: CBETA on July 19, 2006 2:35 PM

Don't any of you remember the days when the bags always came printed with something? Before the airline in-flight magazine and skymall you had the choice of trying to grab one of the few dozen magazines on board or bringing along your own entertainment. Since this was before iPods, this meant books or cards - and they even gave away airline branded cards.

I remember seeing scorecards for Cribbage (I think that's what it was) or something like that, as well as the above mentioned film mailers. They want to put ads on the overhead bins, why not the barf bags?

Posted by: Brad Waller on July 19, 2006 4:56 PM

Virgin Atlantic first put artwork on bags by collaborating with me for a project I had been running online for a few years called Design for Chunks (www.designforchunks.com). We did this in 2005 (they launched the project with the london to sydney route).

These bags (with artwork on) were snapped up immediately by passengers, they were supposed to be on the planes for 6 months but finished up at 4 months due to running out. They appear on ebay regularly. I am sure that advertising will be beneficial on this medium.

i'm still trying to find out if we were the first to make sickbags pretty on a global level. i very much doubt it but i'm sure at least we were the first to launch a 'gallery in the sky'.

Posted by: oz dean on July 19, 2006 10:34 PM

I'm going to put mentos and Diet Coke in my bag :)

Posted by: Mo P on July 20, 2006 11:08 AM

Oz dean, thats a catchy, if not disturbing, name for your project...I like it!

While I tend to read everything in those darn seatbacks, I dont see this as something that will reach all passengers. The problem that I feel this medium faces is that the bags are hardly used for their intended purpose anymore. I mean, honestly, when was the last time someone on your flight decided to toss their cookies into the sick bag? Ive never seen one in action myself, not that Im disappointed about that... We're maybe looking at a 5-10% exposure rate for each flight.

With their usage being relatively low, I cant imagine advertisers paying enough to generate more than a minor amount of revenue for the airline, if any. Id love to get the rate card for this one!

Posted by: Sean on July 20, 2006 4:10 PM

I think many of you and the writer of this piece missed the point. Airline sick bags are not intended to advertise to the few sick passengers using the bags. They are intended to advertise to a captive audience. Sometimes it's a quick impression a passenger gets while shuffling through the seatback for the magazine. Other times there are passengers so bored they read everything in their reach. In either case the advertiser has a message with the potential to be seen by millions of travelers over the existence of the bag. And beyond if you consider the bag collectors/traders.

The small revenue from these bags pays for the bags themselves and a little more. All of this goes to reducing the cost per seat for airlines and can reduce the price of your ticket. Without tray table, overhead bin and sick bag advertisements your tickets would cost even more than they already do.

Posted by: Joe on March 30, 2007 1:22 PM

I think many of you and the writer of this piece missed the point. Airline sick bags are not intended to advertise to the few sick passengers using the bags. They are intended to advertise to a captive audience. Sometimes it's a quick impression a passenger gets while shuffling through the seatback for the magazine. Other times there are passengers so bored they read everything in their reach. In either case the advertiser has a message with the potential to be seen by millions of travelers over the existence of the bag. And beyond if you consider the bag collectors/traders.

The small revenue from these bags pays for the bags themselves and a little more. All of this goes to reducing the cost per seat for airlines and can reduce the price of your ticket. Without tray table, overhead bin and sick bag advertisements your tickets would cost even more than they already do.

Posted by: Joe on March 30, 2007 1:25 PM







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