Delta rejected a Scottevest ad which promised that its 24 pockets "Beat the System" and "Help You Stay Organized & Avoid Extra Baggage Fees."
The ad was to have run in the November issue of Delta's in-flight Sky magazine, published by MSP Communications.
Here's an image of a similar ad, which recently ran in a New York Times travel magazine.
Asked why it rejected the ad, Delta, a leader in collecting bag fees from travelers, stated: "Our discrepancy with this particular vendor was strictly based on creative standards. Delta and MSP Communications, publishers of SKY magazine, reserve the right to decline advertisements which not not appropriately represent Delta Air Lines or the travel industry."
Notice that Delta feels it was not only protecting itself from disparagement, but in its view, the travel industry as a whole.
No worries for Scottevest CEO Scott Jordan, who knows how to work social media and has seen his vests garner far more publicity over the controversy than they would have by advertising in Delta's magazine.
Jordan took to Twitter and YouTube soon after the Delta-MSP turn-down with what he called the "freaking hilarious" saga of how Delta rejected his advertising.
Here's the YouTube video:
Asked about the resulting publicity, Jordan says Scottevest has received more publicity "by far" from the controversy than he would have through advertising in the Delta magazine.
"And, it has just starting," Jordan adds, noting that the company has approached the Today show, Good Morning America and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon about the story.
Jordan says Delta and MSP rejected the ad Oct. 1 and today, three days later, there are 245,000 results for the Google search term "Delta Scottevest ad."'
Jordan says the company had agreed to compromise and remove the ad's "beat the system" reference, but declined to erase the subhead, "SCOTTEVEST Travel Clothing Has Specialized Pockets to Help You Stay Organized & Avoid Baggage Fees."
He had emailed the magazine: "Frankly, if they object to the 'avoid baggage fees' line, they need to stop charging baggage fees. I don't think we should change it ... The fact that airlines charge baggage fees is just that: A fact. We just help make it less painful."
The vests have been featured on the Today show as a way for airline passengrs to stuff shoes and all sorts of items in the pockets to avoid bringing luggage and getting charged bag fees.
Here's a video of travel journalist Peter Greenberg modeling one of the vests.
No word yet from Southwest (no first or second bag fee) as to whether it would accept Scottevest advertising.
UPDATE: Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King says:"Yes, our bags fly free policy means creative apparel isn’t as necessary, but we appreciate the ad’s clever messaging."
But, in fact, Jordan says Scottevest will approach Southwest and JetBlue about running advertising in some of their outlets.
"We don’t have an inflight magazine as we offer 36 channels of LiveTV and over 100 channels of XM radio," says JetBlue spokesman Steve Stampley. "However, there are advertising opportunities on our LiveTV offering and we’re willing to discuss those opportunities with any company. That said, I’m not sure the typical JetBlue customer would have a need to beat baggage fees while flying JetBlue, as your first checked bag is free."
Scottevest is 10 years old and up until a year ago had marketed the vests as "a gadget vest" or as gear to carry iPhones.
The company grew 20% in 2009, compared with 2008, but is on track to increase its sales 140% in 2010 -- mostly because of a shift in marketing to bag-fee miffed travelers, Jordan says.
He adds: "Our business exploded."