Southwest Airlines Kicks Off Third Season of ‘AIRLINE’ and Expands Its Branding Strategy

Southwest Is Flying High in the Game of Brand Integration

DALLAS, May 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — The wait is over! A&E’s hit series AIRLINE, which was recently nominated for a People’s Choice Award, launches another round of new, real-life, high-flying adventures. The season premieres with back-to-back half-hour episodes at 8:00 and 8:30 pm EDT/PDT and 7:00 and 7:30 pm CDT on Monday, May 2, 2005. Also, this week, AIRLINE: SEASON ONE is being released on DVD by A&E Home Video.

AIRLINE features the real-life highs and lows of passengers who board Southwest Airlines flights at Los Angeles International (LAX), Chicago Midway, Baltimore/Washington International Airports and, as of this season, Houston Hobby Airport. AIRLINE also follows Southwest’s staff, from the Customer- focused flight crews to the hard working ground crews. Heartwarming passenger stories, occasional outbursts, and weather-related anxiety … they all come together to create a real-life drama that is truly unique to commercial airline travel.

With the success of AIRLINE under its wing, Southwest continues to pursue opportunities in prime-time programming to showcase its brand. The airline has partnered with Dr. Phil McGraw, the Wayne Brady Show, and most recently struck a deal with ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The latest trend of product integration allows Southwest Airlines to publicize its product in a non-traditional format, extending its thinking beyond the conventional form of advertising.

“With the changing landscape of corporate advertising, brand integration is an innovative approach we are using to promote the Southwest product,” said Joyce Rogge, Southwest’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. “We don’t expect brand integration to replace our advertising strategy, only complement it.”

The airline carefully reviews all branded content opportunities to determine if a product is a good fit for Southwest’s image. The airline prides itself on being a Customer Service Company that cares about the communities it serves, and it seeks programming that matches the Company’s Core Values.

“It is very important for us to be selective with the types of programs we choose to partner with,” said Rogge. “We are extremely protective of the Southwest brand, and we’re proud of the programs and relationships we have developed in this new arena.”

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) , the nation’s largest carrier in terms of domestic passengers enplaned, currently serves 59 airports in 31 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates nearly 3,000 flights a day and has 31,000+ employees systemwide. The carrier will begin service to Pittsburgh on May 4, 2005.

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