By now, most everyone is aware of United Airlines mistreatment of Dr. David Dao, who was bloodied and dragged off of a flight by O’Hare International Airport security for refusing to heed airline employee orders to give up his seat. Having taken last week off, your Friday Forecasters are admittedly late to the arrival gate on this topic, which has been steady fodder for pundits, late night comics, and outraged social media warriors. While the incident was indeed shocking, and will no doubt be the subject of armchair quarterbacking in marketing and public relations classes for many years to come, we believe the depth of animus it has ignited is rooted in a deeper truth. United’s actions and the buffoonish response of its CEO Oscar Munoz, have exposed a raw nerve the public has suspected for some time: that airlines such as United really don’t give a sh*t about us.
I recently learned that the direct-response television (DRTV) industry spent $6.4 billion on advertising in 2016, according to DRMetrix. Of that, $316 million was short-form advertising for consumer products. Put another way: The “As Seen on TV” brand received more than $300 million in advertising support last year. So it’s worth asking: What are consumer impressions of this brand we all share?