I recently flew Spirit, the most low-budget of all the budget airlines, for the first time. And though the experience wasn’t entirely miserable, I would never describe it as pleasant. The check-in process contained far too many frustrating steps, its terminal at LGA is perhaps the airport’s worst, and—because taking a carry-on both ways would have cost over $60 (a significant percentage of my fare)—I stuffed two days worth of clothes and my toiletry kit into a tote bag that would fit under the seat in front of me and was uncomfortable during both flights.

Unfortunately, I’m reminded of my frustrations with Spirit (as well as their upsettingly childish brand identity) every few days thanks to their constant emails. Topical humor is sort of their “thing” (as is offensive humor), but no bad joke about in-flight snacks could have prepared me for an email inspired by Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade.

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Look at it.

Let’s examine every problematic element of this terrible failure in marketing, shall we?


1. It’s Not Subtle

I knew what you meant by “lemons” before you explained that it was in reference to “high fares,” so you don’t need to be that explicit! Beyoncé never says, “By the way, it was my husband Shawn Carter, aka Jay Z, who cheated on me, Beyoncé Knowles, with a woman I won’t name here.” She just, you know, releases a visual album about it that says everything but those words.

2. Why Is the Lemonade Being Heavily Discounted?

Is there something wrong with the lemonade? Too much sugar? Not enough? Were the lemons rotten? Has this been sitting her unrefrigerated for several days, and could drinking it be dangerous to my health? Is this even lemonade?

3. This Guy

Why did you dress up like a bee before going to the lemonade stand, sir? What is your name? Where are your eyes? You’re certainly not in the Beyhive...right? And why are you buying lemonade on sale from a dilapidated stand when you should be purchasing an affordable plane ticket from Spirit Airlines? This brings me to my next point:

4. That Man’s Gonna Get Stung By Bees!

He’s walking straight toward a hive surrounded by buzzing bees just ready to sting the heck out of him!

5. And Yet!

Sir! I object! There is nothing remotely thumbs up-worthy in your life right now! You are a grown man wearing an ill-fitting bee costume who is attempting to buy questionably made lemonade from an unmanned stand currently occupied by a swarm of sting-happy bees! Thumbs down, my dude! Thumbs way, way down!

6. Did I Mention Your Pockets?!

What do you plan on putting in that pocket, Mr. Bee Man? A dime and a crumpled up wad of air? How do you plan on paying for that lemonade? You’re going to steal it aren’t you?! That costume is a disguise!

7. And What About This Sign?

What the hell does this sign mean?! Is this a naked man standing next to a backpack? A man who desperately needs to urinate standing next to a backpack? Is that even a backpack? Is it a bird cage? Is it a tiny little cat house? Why’s it taped to the lemonade stand? Is the man giving a thumbs up to this sign, as if to say, “Man oh man, have I been there, sign!”

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What was I talking about?


Image via Spirit Airlines.