I was working out on the "career simulator" aka the treadmill at the hotel the other day.
I was watching one of the news channels, probably CNN, when an advertisement for Boeing came on.
Here's the ad. It's chock full of warm, fuzzy "look at all the cool stuff we're doing" with a bit a "Rah! Rah!" flag waving thrown in. Rockets shoot into space, attack helicopters drop flares, a V-22 spreads its wings (and doesn't crash) while
Boeing engineers professional actors beam with pride.
It certainly gives you a warm fuzzy. If I weren't on the treadmill I'd have saluted the flag and hummed the Star Spangled Banner right then and there.
Still this strikes me as a little odd, so bear with me and I'll explain.
What does Boeing make? Well airliners of course as well as military aircraft. Everybody knows that. And since everybody already knows that, why does Boeing feel the need to advertise to the average schmoe working out in the hotel gym at 3:00 in the afternoon?
I'm not going to run out and buy a 787 because I saw an ad on television. They cost $211 million. As much as I'd love to fly an F/A-18 Super Hornet, at $60 million a copy I won't be parking one of those in my garage anytime soon.
So who are they advertising to? I'm pretty sure that Richard Branson over at Virgin Atlantic already knows about Boeing. And if he didn't they could probably just call him up.
I'm not exactly sure what Branson is up to these days. Probably trying to climb Mt. Everest using just his teeth or something.
[An impeccably dressed figure slowly works his way up Everest, pulling himself along by his teeth]
(spits out a mouthful of ice)
"Bollocks! Who's calling me way out here? Branson here, this better be important."
"Richard, it's James McNerney over at Boeing. Did you know we make airliners?"
"You don't say? Well I'm a little busy right now. I'm climbing Mt. Everest using just my teeth. Hurts like bloody 'ell. How about we have lunch next week and you can tell me about these airliners of yours?"
In fact, I dare say that anyone who would be in a position to purchase a Boeing product is already pretty familiar with them. We're talking a small handful of people on the entire planet here folks. Boeing could just give each one of them a phone call. Hoping that one of them is watching CNN at 3:00 in the afternoon seems like an iffy advertising strategy.
So why are they doing this? Is this just standard public relations?
The cynic in me thinks that they want CNN/Fox/MSNBC on their side when any story about labor relations or military spending comes up.
What say you?