A war of words between Scoot and Spirit Airlines escalated today, according to AdAge: the Singaporean LCC flew a big yellow blimp outside Spirit’s headquarters, defiantly painted with the words, “Hey Spirit, You Can’t Have Our Scootitude!”1
That the blimp was yellow is significant. Scoot alleges that Spirit has been “inspired” a little too much by Scoot’s brand look and feel. Same color. Same icons. Sometimes even the same typography. Scoot fired its first volley last week, with a video from its CEO:
Following the video, Scoot sent Spirit Airlines a brand manual to help them get their supposedly derivative Pantone colours right. They also declared they would rename one of their airplanes after Spirit in appreciation of their fans. The campaign is being orchestrated by Saatchi, Singapore.
The irony, of course, is that in accusing Spirit of ripping off Scoot, Scoot is in a way ripping off Spirit. Because this is exactly the sort of stunt Spirit is known for. If not for the fact that the American carrier has been pretty quiet about the whole thing, one might almost think they were in cahoots.
How similar are they? Certainly the logos bear little resemblance, and the liveries of the two carriers are connected only by their use of very different shades of yellow. Their Web sites are about as similar as any two airline Web sites would be.
At the level of advertising, collateral, and social posts, on the other hand, the similarities are striking.
I’m a creative, so I don’t like to throw around accusations of plagiarism lightly. Coincidences do happen. But between the ubiquitous yellow background, the handmade typography, and the cartoonish illustrations, it’s quite a coincidence. Enough to make you wonder if Barkley, Spirit’s agency, was indeed a little too “inspired” when it launched Spirit’s new look last year.2
If Scoot were really taking this seriously, of course, they would send cease-and-desists, not blimps. But Spirit and Scoot are separated by a very big ocean. Unless and until Scoot expands its routes to the United States (there seems zero chance Spirit would ever fly to Singapore) the chance of any consumer confusing the two airlines is slim.
So for now, it’s merely a fun opportunity for Scoot to gain some attention. And if there’s anything Scoot might have learned from Spirit, it’s the value of attention.
(Image credits: Photo illustration with images from Scoot and Spirit Airlines.)
- I cringe at having just typed the word “scootitude” and I hope you can forgive me for forcing you to read it. [↩]
- Barkley’s other work for the brand has been quite good. Since the agency took over the account a little over 18 months ago, Spirit’s counterintuitive “hug the haters” strategy has turned some of its weaknesses as a brand into strengths. [↩]