Scott's Official Statement
Delta Sky Rejects SCOTTEVEST's "Beat the System - How to Avoid Extra Bag Fees" Ad
October 2, 2010
My company, SCOTTEVEST/SeV Travel Clothing, makes stylish travel clothes with many pockets. As a small business owner, I never really expected to find myself in a David vs. Goliath situation with a major airline, but apparently I've kicked a hornets' nest.
Below is a timeline of what has happened in this debacle. Whether you are a traveler, writer, producer or just want to know the truth that the airlines want to hide from you, this is worth checking out. Frankly, I was shocked at their attempts to silence me, and feel it's my obligation to share it with the world.
Scott Jordan, CEO & Founder
SCOTTEVEST/SeV Travel Clothing
Timeline of Events
- September 26th, 2010 - SCOTTEVEST/SeV Travel Clothing ran this ad in the NY Times Travel Magazine. It received an amazing response. We knew we were onto something with our "Beat the System" message and sought opportunities in other magazines to continue the campaign.
- September 29th, 2010 - A last-minute opportunity to appear in November's Delta Sky Magazine was presented to us. With the success of our NYT ad, we felt we were on a roll and decided to do it, despite the fact that it cost a significant portion of our ad budget for the remainder of the year. It sounded like a home run, and we decided to use the winning "Beat the System" message.
- Coincidentally, The New York Times broke a story this week about how much money airlines have been raking in from baggage fees, stating, "from January to March, United States airlines collected $769 million in baggage fees." It sounded like a perfect storm of traveler angst was brewing, and our clothing was the solution.
- October 1, 2010 - We received word that Delta Sky rejected this ad (click here to see it or scroll down to see it on the last page) based on the content. We offered to replace our successful headline, "The Most Stylish Way to Beat the System" with "Travel the World in Style & Leave Your Baggage Behind," but our compromise was rejected.
- It turns out that they didn't like the other message on the page, "SCOTTEVEST Travel Clothing Has Specialized Pockets to Help You Stay Organized & Avoid Extra Baggage Fees" - particularly the "Avoid Extra Baggage Fees." As evidenced by the recent New York Times analysis of the airline industry, those baggage fees are what keeps them going.
- When I was told that they rejected our compromise headline as well, I responded as follows in an email, "Frankly, if they object to the 'avoid the baggage fees' line, they need to stop charging baggage fees. I don't think we should change it. We have agreed to remove 'beat the system,' but will not change the sub-heading. The fact that airlines charge baggage fees is just that: A fact. We just help make it less painful."
- Being very connected to social media, and thinking that the situation was ludicrous, I immediately posted my disbelief in a video on (YouTube and Twitter, but honestly did not expect anything more to come of it.
- This was when the real drama began. Our media agent (who buys ad placements for us) pleaded with me to take the video down. Apparently, Delta Sky didn't like the truth being exposed for the public to see. It was communicated to us that we would likely be rejected by all other airline magazines as well, and that this was causing major ripples.
- Soon thereafter I was in the middle of a flurry of phone calls - my advisers, reporters and media agent were all trying to get a hold of me. It was clear I had hit a nerve with the video, and my chief adviser Hap Klopp (founder of The North Face) agreed. "Scott, this is classic David vs. Goliath. Their reaction shows how touchy of a subject baggage fees are for them. You've found a way for everyday people to get around their crazy policies, and you just put a fork in their cash cow." Hap's comments solidified it for me: this was a big story, and the cat was out of the bag.
- The bottom line: it became abundantly clear that the airlines would never allow me to advertise a product that costs them money and makes me money. I believe it wasn't my headline, it was the core concept behind my product that they were rejecting. With that, I decided to embrace the controversy.
- October 2nd, 2010 - within 24 hours, the story blew up. AOL's WalletPop and GearDiary covered it, many reporters expressed interest in it, over 1 million people saw it on Twitter, as it was retweeted by some social media heavy hitters like @scobleizer, and there are over 230K Google results for delta scottevest ad. I may not be able to go on a plane ever again. ;-) What's next... will they start weighing people or counting their pockets to avoid SeV cutting into their profits?
To summarize, yes my SCOTTEVEST Travel Clothing helps people avoid extra baggage fees, and look great while doing it. The New York Times, Peter Greenberg, the UK's ITV and tons of other media outlets agree about that. We even proved this by sending travel writer Rolf Potts around the world for six weeks without any bags whatsoever, just what he could carry in his SCOTTEVEST. Check out the Fox Business News interview about the No Baggage Challenge. Does that give Delta Sky and other airline magazines the right to censor us at the expense of taking money out of the pockets of everyday travelers? No way! This fight isn't over... we're going to place more ads telling people how they can "Beat the System" using our products. This is the beginning of the story, not the end, and we intend to keep you informed how the airlines respond.
Please retweet my original message on Twitter and follow me @Scottevest for the latest info. You can friend me on Facebook and like SCOTTEVEST.
If you would like to set up an interview with SeV CEO & Founder Scott Jordan, please email [email protected]
Thank you for reading this far, and for your support.
The Rejected Ad
Join our viral campaign! Click here to download a high-res image of the ad, print it and leave it in the in-flight magazine on your next flight. Help spread the word!