Take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Fall Campaign “If it matters to you, it matters to us.”
Borrowing a few words from the campaign: “At Southwest, we believe low fares should never mean low service and we’re not changing that course because that course brought us to you.” Our newest campaign captures the moments when our unique services and products connect Customers to what’s important in their lives – vacation time, family time, wherever—whatever—whenever time.
In addition to the behind-the-scenes video and blog today, be sure to check the Southwest Airlines Facebook page tomorrow to get a sneak peek of the new commercials. The ads will kick-off on national television, along with the NFL football games, later this week.
The funny (sometimes scary) thing about a production shoot is that it’s months of planning all leading up to a handful of days to capture the best moments of dialogue, reactions, sunrises, sunsets, and personality. All of this is taken with great consideration as one of these commercials may be the first conversation we, Southwest, have with a potential Customer. I assume it’s a feeling that we can all relate to in our lives, at one point or another ( … think back to your first crush and how many different scenarios that ran through your mind before deciding to actually walk up and introduce yourself.) It is then my job to help find a balance among the variety of topics and scenarios, and to focus the most important into thirty seconds. We try to approach topics and scenarios that play a particularly important role for our Customers, from as many different angles and perspectives as possible.
The Fall Campaign includes shots from the following locations:
Day 1: Chicago: Cog Hill Golf Course
Day 2: Chicago: Museum, Kids’ Baseball Fields, Restaurant
Day 3: Chicago: Local house, Hotel, Riverwalk
Day 4: Chicago: Subway Station, North Ave Beach, Farm about an hour from the city
Day 5: MDW airport
Day 6: HOU airport
Day 7: HOU airport
Day 8: DAL airport
Team Members from different work groups and from across the system helped coordinate various components of the production in order to make this idea come to life. And to those people, I sincerely thank you for your time, energy, and Fun-LUVing Spirit along the way. We truly hope that this campaign is something our Employees can get behind and be proud of—enjoy!
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It’s tough describing the atmosphere behind-the-scenes of a production shoot – forget the fact that we were surrounded by desert-like terrain in 100-degree, dry heat, and located at the base of Agua Dulce’s hills – this set was larger than life and built like an oversized play-place. I could tell you about why my team and I decided to move forward with the Challenge Fall Campaign concept, how many hours we prepped for this shoot, and all the other minutia, but I’d rather share the FUN stories behind the hard work.
Here are a few fun facts to get you even closer to the courses in Business Travel Challenge:
Courses were 70 ft. - 80 ft. in length, built on stilt bases about 4 ft. tall and range 6 ft. - 25 ft. in height. Ball pits were 1 ft. - 8 ft. deep and filled with 56,000 gray balls. It took 310,000 gallons of water (85 truckloads) to fill the pool. Large dollar signs and body forms (dummies) had mechanical parts that were layered with vinyl and padding and were so heavy only cranes and trucks could move them around on set . There were 10 total cameras on every commercial’s set: four cameras were stable on cranes or lifts, six cameras were attached to Contestants’ helmets, vests and attached to various props; one crane stretched 100 ft. tall; the other 40 ft. Each actor had three sets of suits, outfits, shoes, etc, so that they could change after each stunt fall. After this shoot I have a new appreciation for the choreography and planning that goes into stunt acting. To help make it all look effortless, without a bead of sweat showing on anyone’s brow, or pit stain after a day of filming, I applaud the make-up and wardrobe stylists that improvised in the desert elements. I bet you didn’t even notice the ribs, chest, elbows, kneepads, and safety harnesses underneath the business suits, did’ya?
Even with all of our safety precautions, crew, cameras, daily itineraries, etc., I always found time to have a little fun on the sets. After the first day of shooting and watching the Bags Fly Free actors jump into the ball pit, I decided I had to do it. The pit was 8 ft. deep, and once I jumped in, there was no crawling out; the stunt coordinators had to pull me out with a rope! After the second day of shooting and watching the Open Seating actors jump into the pool, I decided I also had to do that, too. This time, every camera was turned on to watch my epic fail of an attempt to complete the Other Airlines’ ropes course. Just as I took off on the first rope to reach for the second rope, the water mortars blasted me! After the third day of shooting and watching the Rapid Rewards actors jump into a foam pit... you guessed it; I decided I had to do it, too. But by the time I jumped in the pit late in the day, the foam started to melt and was really more of a warm water and mud pit with a few soapsuds. The videos looked awesome, but I didn’t smell so great for my fellow shuttle riders. Oops. Luckily for me we had an amazing crew with us on set that had fun setting me up for the stunts (and failures), and really let me take a fun break during the tough work week.
I suppose I could also mention the two tarantulas found around the set on our first day of shooting, or the snakes on the second day… I do not like spiders.
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“Alright, Everyone. Listen up and pay close attention”… that’s what you’ll hear one of our Employees saying when he appears in a video introducing Southwest’s newest ad campaign. This fall, more than 30 Southwest Employees will demonstrate how Southwest Airlines tirelessly enforces the rules of “fare” play. We advertise heavily in sports media, so we thought: what better way to capture football-lovers attention than to bring the game into our ads? In true, tongue-and-cheek Southwest style, our Employees will portray football referees and penalize the unfair fees that drive Customers crazy. We’re calling out the other airlines with our whistles blaring and flags flying to enforce the right way to treat passengers. We don’t believe in charging unreasonable bag fees or change fees – Southwest Airlines makes the right call for our Customers. In the ads, our Employees will review “plays” made by the other airlines and call them out for blindsiding travelers with a ridiculous bag fee or change fee, or even worse – both! Our Employees have made up catch phrases similar to the calls made by football referees. So instead of “Unsportsmanlike conduct,” our Employees call out “Un-Southwest-like conduct.” Everyone on set had a blast making up hand signals to go along with these fun, airline ref calls. Our television spots will launch with the beginning of college football on Saturday, Sept. 3, and our online, jetbridge, and airport advertising will show up around the system today.
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