Southwest Airlines is trying to enhance its passengers’ expectation. People experience what they expect, so it is good practice to heighten customers’ expectation.
But the aim is off. The ads should focus on how it feels to be a Southwest customer. Instead, they focus on how it feels to work for Southwest.
Highlighting employee performance can be useful. McDonald’s used to say that its advertising showed McDonald’s employees how they were supposed to act. But the primary goal of those McDonald’s ads was always to lead the customer to anticipate a pleasant interaction. In these Southwest ads, the customer’s experience is clearly secondary.
If the ads are designed to enhance job satisfaction or to motivate people to apply for jobs at Southwest, they work well, though paid media placement isn’t the most efficient way to get that point across.
When prospective passengers think about it, they might anticipate dealing with Southwest employees who really enjoy their jobs. That’s a step in the right direction. But why have the audience go through that step? Why not make passengers’ experience the primary focus of the ad?