Spirit Airlines Holds "MILF Sale," Denies Having Seen "American Pie"

Reader Doug sent us the above screen grab of the email announcing the Spirit Airlines MILF (Many Islands Low Fares) sale. He wondered:

What? Milfs for sale? If you go to their website, there it is spelled nice and big for you, M.I.L.F.(many islands low fares). Is this an attempt to be clever and comical, or are they that uninformed?

The email attracted a bit of media coverage, and now Spirit is claiming that they have no idea (wink, wink) what a MILF is, and that the executive that approved the promotion is British. (Apparently, British people don’t have movie theaters or internet connections, the poor things.) Asked whether or not the airline knew the acronym was offensive, Juan Arbelaez, the director of communications for the company’s Latin American market, told ABC News:

“The most obscene thing we’ve noticed,” Arbelaez said, “is what other carriers have charged to fly the Caribbean before Spirit’s $9 fares.”

Cute. We see what you did there.

Airline’s ‘MILF’ Promo Not What You Think [ABCNews] (Thanks, Natalia!)

UPDATE: Reader Rob offers more evidence of the lameness of the publicity stunt.
moremilf.jpg

Comments

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  1. cashmerewhore says:

    Too bad that MILF sale is good ol’ bait & switch. All the $9 seats are gone.

  2. cmdr.sass says:

    Wait, “offensive”? Tasteless, yes, but offensive to whom?

  3. ekthesy says:

    This is, as Meg notes, “cute,” but that’s about as far as it goes.

    Not only is it a juvenile and stupid idea for a campaign, it’s offensive to women.

    I am also offended as an advertising professional, but that’s neither here nor there.

  4. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    They were probably smoking fags when they created that.

  5. Ride the SLUT

    Or

    Experience the WGASA

    It’s understandable.

  6. Half Beast says:

    I’m laughing harder than I’ve laughed in a long time. Spirit needs to hire some younger marketing staff, to avoid this sort of…acronomical faux pas.

  7. CarlR says:

    I have to wonder just how I should interpret the cost of $9 “each way”.

  8. alexanderpink says:

    @EKTHESY MILF is offensive to women? Well I am not a mother, or even a female for that matter, but I think most moms would take it as a compliment that their kids friends wanted to, well, you know. I wouldn’t mind being a FILF, well, maybe with a better sounding acronym.

  9. clevershark says:

    There’s also Microsoft’s infamous Critical Update Notification Tool.

  10. Quellman says:

    I saw a web-vertisement for it. I was like wow! Then I saw it was an airline. Kudos for creating buzz, mistake or not.

  11. Meg Marco says:

    Just for the record, some people think the F part of MILF is an “offensive” word. I don’t, but some people do. Me, I like it.

  12. Shinobuu says:

    @alexanderpink: *sigh* There’s actually a term for male version of MILF but I’m going to refrain from saying what it is.

  13. kepster says:

    MILF Island
    50 Eighth Grade Boys…25 Superhot Moms…No Rules.

    Well at least now we know how they all get to MILF Island!

  14. zentec says:

    I get their email messages into my public address and saw this one and just rolled my eyes. They knew what they were doing, and they thought it would create exactly the buzz you’re seeing.

    You see, they’re marketing under the “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission” mentality. They know people will forget.

  15. alexanderpink says:

    @ SHINOBUU please share

  16. Buran says:

    Uh … just because some people heard of the joke doesn’t mean others have. I have no clue what the “alternate” meaning is, and assuming that everyone knows of some joke and then blaming someone for it is just ridiculous.

    Not all of us had, or will ever have, a desire to see lame movies with no taste. So why are people assuming (and we know what that word breaks down into) that someone legitimately is up to something?

  17. silvanx says:

    It’s a weird-sounding word. There’s only one reason a marketer would use it and that’s because it’s naughty.

  18. Fuck Lion says:

    @cashmerewhore: Well that’s just great. I’m not paying full price for a MILF.

  19. Pylon83 says:

    @Buran:
    “Mom I’d like to “fornicate” (with)”

  20. j-mo says:

    Of course Spirit knows what they are doing. They had a mullet sale a while back. Business in the front, party in the back. Tee Hee Hee

  21. mac-phisto says:

    awesome.

  22. warf0x0r says:

    @clevershark: lmao, they didn’t!?! Please tell me the abbreviated it somewhere!

  23. kimsama says:

    @Buran: See silvanx‘s comment. This was used knowingly. No way that mangled abbreviation would have come into being without the infamous version.

  24. Shinobuu says:

    @alexanderpink:
    Might as well educate the masses, the term is “DILF”.

  25. target_veteran says:

    My favorite acronym mistake is still the Wisconsin Air National Guard. My brother wanted to start selling T-shirts, but couldn’t think up a clever enough tagline for it.

  26. DrGirlfriend says:

    They totally knew what it meant. The emails I get from them often include “cheeky” or “funny” names for sales. Their Mullet sale (complete with a picture of a guy with a mullet, which eliminates the possibility that they thought mullet meant something else) comes to mind.

  27. Buran says:

    @kimsama: So, you’re going to accuse someone of lying with no proof that they did so, and then accuse them of lying again when asked about it. That’s classy. Yes, I know companies do weird things, but accusations that are unprovable are just as unclassy as what they allegedly did.

  28. ekthesy says:

    @alexanderpink:

    I think some women would find it offensive, and (to me) that’s the litmus test here.

    @Meg Marco:

    It’s not the action that’s offensive, it’s the object that’s offended. The term “MILF” is yet another way of portraying a woman as a sex object.

  29. entitynein says:

    In the town I grew up in, they have a little bus system, named CART… CART stands for Churchill Area Regional Transport. Churchill is the county the town is in, and the bus doesn’t travel outside of the one city in the county… Fallon… now, I think my slogan was the best idea for Fallon Area Regional Transport. “FART around town…”. Yeah, I know I’m juvenile sometimes, but I’m okay with that.

  30. I think most moms would take it as a compliment that their kids friends wanted to, well, you know.

    @alexanderpink: I would find that creepy. Very, very, very creepy.

    Calling someone beautiful or sexy is a compliment. Telling someone (whom you aren’t romantic with) you want to do them is crass, creepy, and makes them get their pepper spray at the ready.

  31. xamarshahx says:

    i flew on spirit for $7 each way, then paid $20 in taxes, they sell like 20 seats each flight dirt cheap and then gradually increase it as the seats get filled up.

  32. llcooljabe says:

    Never fly spirit. You have been warned.

  33. mammalpants says:

    no matter what, they clearly havent optimized the images on their website (pixelated and grainy), which leads me to the conclusion, IF YOU CANT SAVE FOR WEB, WHY SHOULD I TRUST YOU WITH MY LIFE?

  34. backbroken says:

    Yes, it is offensive to ever express that a woman is desirable. What was that old tootsie-roll jingle? ‘Whatever it is I think I see, becomes offensive to me.’

  35. topgun says:

    @target_veteran:
    You don’t remember the WANG computer? A company owned by designer Vera Wang’s family.

  36. darkened says:

    @EKTHESY Are you saying they aren’t????

    …It had to be said.

  37. Project Thanatos says:

    I wonder if they’ll have a GILF sale….

    Then I’d be game.

  38. mark duffy says:

    It is most certainly not a faux pas. When you first go to their
    site, the islands in the flash animation are in the form of a reclined
    woman.

  39. ncboxer says:

    @ekthesy: So men are never looked at by women and said- boy I’d like to F him? I think it is natural for people to be physically attracted to each other. Such as the one looks at a picture of someone and treats that person as an object of sexual desire. What is wrong with that?

  40. Javert says:

    I thought it was funny. I guess I am offensive.

  41. hexychick says:

    @ekthesy: seriously??? It’s an abbreviation that clearly someone just didn’t think through. I hate to break it to the American masses but just because a teenage movie came out ten years ago and coined the term does not, in fact, mean that the rest of the world has seen it nor does it mean they know what the hell a MILF even is. To the majority of the world, it’s just another damn abbreviation. And for the record, it’s not offensive to ALL women because the “M” stands for mom and not ALL women are mothers.

  42. Eric Lai says:

    Cmon, since when did a phrase like “Many Islands, Low Fares” roll off the tongue, especially in marketing speak? I don’t remember the last time I’ve heard airfares described as low – cheap is probably the preferred phrase. Obviously the marketing team here were sitting bored in a meeting and decided to get drunk, came up with MILF and tried to come up with a phrase related to air travel … and butchered it.

    But I for one think this is hilarious.

  43. mom22bless says:

    That flash IS of a woman!! Oh MY!!!!

    For all you naysayers….you should go look for yourself!!!!!!!!!!

  44. mom22bless says:

    spiritair.com. Look at the right hand side.

  45. mac-phisto says:

    @hexychick: just for the record, the term was in existence long before american pie. here’s a newsgroup reference on alt.mag.playboy from 1995 (WARNING POSSIBLE ADULT CONTENT – NOT WORK SAFE):
    [groups.google.com]

  46. spinachdip says:

    @Buran: “Not all of us had, or will ever have, a desire to see lame movies with no taste.”

    American Pie (though not its sequels), despite its gross-out tendencies, was actually a well-crafted and honest film, and compares rather favorably to other coming-of-age films. Though I suppose it doesn’t appeal to people with the magical ability to rate films that they haven’t seen.

  47. jeffj-nj says:

    EKTHESY: It’s not the action that’s offensive, it’s the object that’s offended. The term “MILF” is yet another way of portraying a woman as a sex object.

    Wait. So what you’re saying is that they’re not?

  48. We all know the term was in existence prior to the release of American Pie. It’s in line of how the term was popularized.

    As for the MILF Sale, thats… well… Hilarious.

  49. Craig says:

    Spirit: “We had no idea that’s what it meant. And, uh, we never realized that island looked like a woman on her back either. Honest.”

  50. Munsoned says:

    Yes, this phrase was in existence well before American Pie came out. I remember my neighbor using it when I was (of course) in 7th or 8th grade. That would be at least as early as 1991 or 1992, if my math is correct. He probably got it from his older brother years before that…

  51. ludwigk says:

    @Pylon83:
    @Shinobuu:

    There’s an episode of ER where Abby’s character is referred to as a ‘MILF’, by a couple of teenagers. When she doesn’t get the reference, they explain, then she replies that she doesn’t have any children.

    Then the kid says, ‘Guess that makes you a DILF’, although the D being doctor in this case.

  52. hexychick says:

    @mac-phisto: I guess the movie just made it more mainstream then, eh?

  53. Charmander says:

    Anyone remember when Nike came out a running shoe called “Incubus”? They had no clue as to what an incubus was, and ended up pulling the shoes.

    The word incubus by itself isn’t going to be offensive to anyone, probably, but just imagine wearing a shoe named after an evil spirit that has sex with women while they are asleep.

    It just goes to show you, there are clueless people out there!!

  54. Sudonum says:

    @Buran:
    Did you look at the picture of the “Islands” in the ad and the shape they take?

  55. kimsama says:

    @Buran: Whoa, calm ‘er down, captain. No need to start calling people names to defend this anonymous marketing guy.

    I merely pointed out that the phrase the abbreviation is based upon is suspiciously mangled, for a marketing slogan. Marketing people don’t get paid to make bad copy. They are paid well for making ctachy or memorable slogans. It’s more likely they knew exactly what they were doing (that is, after all, what they get paid for). I think that’s pretty reasonable.

    And sorry for disappointing you with the class thing. I guess I should have attacked them as being “lame” and having “no taste” and then we would have been buddies.

  56. krom says:

    EKTHESY: Yeah, who ever heard of a mom who wanted to be found attractive, or to have sex. I mean, been there, done that, right?

  57. spinachdip says:

    @krom: Not that I find the phrase MILF particularly offensive, but I’d like to think there’s some middle ground between thinking of someone as attractive or appealing, and objectifying them, you know, defining them solely by their fuckability.

  58. Schizohedron says:

    They should team up with a rental-car company so folks can step off the plane and ride a Cougar.

  59. Trackback says:

    Oh, Spirit Airlines! What would a travel blog be without you?? The double entendres, the imagery, the low fares that few if anyone can actually purchase… But this latest sale, as mentioned in the Consumerist earlier today, is a raising the bar, even for you: The MILF Sale.

  60. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @mamalicious: Whats funny is if it had been called the Sucubus no one would have cared…

    @Schizohedron: Del Taco is running ads here in Socal which features a big haired, big umm endowed older woman chasing a young guy. They call her a cougar a few times.