Southwest Airlines Launches ‘Big Flex’ Campaign with Cheeky Humor and a Pooch

How relaxed can you get? In a new brand campaign from agencies Spark Foundry and GSD&M, Southwest Airlines has some ideas. One thing that can help ease your way across the country: two checked-free bags packed with shampoo. (And not the 3-ounce kind.)

There’s relaxed. And then there’s relaxxxxxxed. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines wants you to think of the second one when you imagine flying with it—and it’s launched a new brand campaign to spread the feeling.

Called “The Big Flex,” the new campaign launched this week to spotlight the carrier’s “flexible” and “customer-friendly” service offerings. In the launch spot, a very relaxed dude with relaxed chinos and untucked, flowing shirt strolls languidly around, sporting a springy hairdo with miles of loose-packed curls. He doesn’t so much walk as float down the street.

When a passerby can’t take her eyes off his slinky-like locks, he explains that he checked two bags on Southwest for free. “I packed a lot of shampoo,” he says. “You can’t get this with three ounces! This is full bottle, baby.”

The woman’s pooch has springy, similarly colored curls of his own.

“He gets it,” the dude says. 

Southwest partnered with its agencies Spark Foundry and GSD&M to develop “The Big Flex” theme and bank a list of creative assets for “multiple media platforms,” including streaming services, broadcast and cable TV, social media, and audio platforms.

“In an industry full of growing complexity, customers want ease and flexibility when they travel, and we pride ourselves on delivering an experience that doesn’t nickel and dime customers with hidden fees,” Jonathan Clarkson, VP of marketing at Southwest, said in a statement.  “The inspiration for ‘The Big Flex’ is giving customers the freedom to say yes by connecting them to what’s important in their lives with unrivaled flexibility. It’s about making a big deal out of something that others might overlook—like getting to check two bags for free, having the freedom to stay an extra day on your trip without worrying about change fees, and using your Rapid Rewards points whenever you want because they don’t expire.”

Video still: Southwest Airlines

Southwest said the campaign also features “a series of partnerships with online creators” to highlight some of the destinations the carrier serves—a good way to reach Gen Z fliers who especially crave low-stress surroundings.

“We’re expanding our collaborations with influencers to highlight many of our amazing destinations,” said Julia Melle, Southwest’s director of brand & content. “We’re excited to invite a new generation of customers to see what the airline with heart has to offer.”

One more thing Southwest can relax about: Flight attendants agree to new contract

On Wednesday, the day after the Flex campaign’s rollout, Southwest announced something else it’s probably relaxing about itself: The company’s flight attendants, represented by the Transport Workers Union Local 556, voted in favor of a new collective bargaining agreement. “In addition to industry-leading compensation increases, the new agreement incorporates refined on-call scheduling for Southwest Airlines flight attendants and other quality-of-life enhancements, including company-paid maternity and parental leaves,” Southwest said in a statement.

The contract covering nearly 20,000 Southwest flight attendants becomes amendable in 2028.

In other news, Southwest Airlines said it’s cutting operations at four airports—including Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport—in the wake of a $231 million loss in Q1 2024, according to the Dallas Morning News.

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