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Come on, Spirit. Do better.

Personally, I don’t care for Spirit Airlines.  This “discount” airline unbundles its services, but the one time we flew it, the hidden fees, extra fees, up-charges, surcharges, and other add-ons ended up costing us more than if we’d just flown a major full-fare carrier.  But that’s not the point today.

This is the point:

Sure, I get the joke, but I still hate it.  I don’t think it’s appropriate for major companies to mock drug use or addiction to generate publicity or sell its products or services.  Yes, Toronto’s mayor is looking like a drug-addled buffoon, and he’s damaging a great city’s reputation. 

This isn’t smart or clever.  It doesn’t make Spirit look hip or cool.

I have a feeling there will be a public backlash within a couple days, then Spirit will quietly hire a major public relations agency that will pull out the crisis-control playbook.

This will likely include a major public apology.  Then they’ll donate some money to a drug-awareness effort, and claim that they’ll attend some sensitivity training programs.  

Spirit’s poor-taste promotion will also be grabbed by a few anti-drug groups that will proclaim outrage, and use this as the hook to spread their own message on some talk shows, sadly holding up class photos of children killed through drug use. 

Spirit might even offer some free travel to children who couldn’t afford to visit their drug-addicted parents who are incarcerated or in rehab.  Then Spirit will hunker down, ride it out, and hope that in the long-term the negative publicity builds awareness and drives sales – which it probably will.

Stay tuned.