This ones been doing the rounds throughout the blogosphere over the last few days, and while its not like The Newshound to be, ahem, behind on a story, its just too good an opportunity to miss passing this one on. As well as being evidence of the remnants of a sense of humour in advertising and marketing, this is also an interesting ploy by newspaper to convince advertisers in the face of a mounting flood of evidence that spendign their dollars in print is still as viable as it always was.

First to run with the story was David Griner from Adfreak.com, who went all alliterative with his Plump passengers punkd by Philly papers piece; not to be outdone, Steve Hall at Adrants.com went for the slightly less creative but nonetheless very direct Got A Fat Ass? Derrie-Air Wants Your Booty; and then this morning Adland dropped Newspapers run ads about fake airline Derrie-Air.

The story is about how The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com all ran with ads for the revolutionary airline Derrie-Air, which bases
your ticket price on how much junk is in your trunk. The one-day hoax
campaign was launched by the newspapers’ holding company and ad agency
Gyro, who wanted to show that newspaper advertising is still a good way
to get noticed.

So basically, running a fake ad campaign in a newspaper is meant to convince advertisers that they should spend for a share of the newspaper audience. An audience who are presumably picking up the newspaper because they are looking for factually accurate, insightful longer-form content. In the long run this kind of campaign does absolutely nothing for the ability of newspapers to attract advertisers, because it essentially sacrifices the long-term credibility of the newspaper platform for short-term results.

If you check out Monashs Marketing Today podcast #64 [link to MP3], youll hear a similar kind of discussion going on around virals, with our very own Julian Cole chipping in: sometimes a short-term increase in awareness isnt the best thing you can do for your brand, especially if in the longer-term you are actually sending out a brand message inconsistent with your core identity.

So the next time you want to convince advertisers of real products that they should spend money with you, try publicising a case study that shows how advertising for real products can generate the kind of results advertisers may be looking for. If you want to attract advertisers of fake services, then scrap all that and just follow this publicity stunt by Gyro.

Smacks of desperation for the newspapers really.