Tiger Woods Crash Is Fodder for Airline Ad

Spirit Airlines tires to capitalize on the Tiger Woods attention with a sale.

December 3, 2009, 2:23 PM

Dec. 3, 2009— -- A week after Tiger Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant, one airline is trying to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the golf superstar.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Spirit Airlines launched an "Eye of the Tiger Sale" Wednesday offering fares starting at $9 each way.

The Web ad features a tiger -- the animal, not the golfer -- wearing a black cap (you know, the type Tiger the golfer wears) driving an SUV into a fire hydrant.

"It's a jungle out there! Make sure you avoid all the obstacles and get the lowest fares," the ad says.

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Asked about the ad Thursday, Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson would only say that it ends at midnight. Pressed about the relationship to the golfer, Pinson added: "We don't have any additional comment on the story."

This is hardly the first time Sprit has generated controversy -- and of course free media publicity -- from one of its ads. Just last week, it launched a "We're no Virgin" sale aimed at rival Virgin America's new service out of its very own Florida base.

In May, it ran an ad "Justice Ochita Suprema" that many thought played off the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sexy Airline Ads

Back in December 2007 the airline hit some turbulence with its "MILF" promotion. The sale promised "Many Islands, Low Fares" deals as low as $9 for travel between Fort Lauderdale and the Bahamas.

While the prices may have been right, the promotional acronym raised eyebrows among customers and eventually had the company executives feeling a bit "uncomfortable."

Before MILF became shorthand for a Spirit Airlines promotion, the acronym hit the mainstream as an obscene descriptor of a mother considered to be sexy.

Spirit Airlines said at the time that the executive who authorized the MILF promotion did not know the connection. That might have been their story but a careful look at the Spirit's online ad showed a cluster of islands that appear to form a woman lounging in a pinup pose.

In 2006, after receiving dozens of complaints, Spirit scrapped an online promotional game called "The Hunt for Hoffa" that offered low fares and poked fun at the FBI's hunt for Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, who went missing under mysterious circumstances in 1975.

The promotion made a CNN list of dumbest business moments, but according to the company was the most successful in the airline's history.

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