A New Airline's Quirky Search for Customers
Maybe if a consumer gets used to the soothing, upbeat sales messages in this tiny gray, unreadable font, the footnotes with special instructions and disclaimers in the same gray mousetype will go unnoticed.
The Money-Back Offer
I have to put myself inside the head of my high-flying nephew. He's the ideal target prospect for Eos—a world traveler who frequently flies to London, always in business or first class with British Air or Virgin Atlantic. With billions of dollars in mergers and acquisitions filling his head, he's constantly focused on his work.
So when Eos runs a full-page ad in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal offering a discount trial round-trip flight on the ultimate new luxury service to London, he might stop and read it. Here's the second paragraph of the ad:
Just call 800.583.0566 by April 12, 2006, and book our special introductory $3,500 round-trip fare for first time Eos flyers. This fare includes free car service and a "refresher room" at the airport in London. If you're not 100% satisfied with your Eos experience, we'll issue a full refund.**
Ah, the pesky asterisks. To what do they refer?
The copy that follows ran across the entire width of the bottom of the newspapers' broadsheet page—five lines of 7-point gray sans serif mousetype:
**Terms and Conditions: One unrestricted round trip journey on Eos between New York and London for $3500.00 USD. Per person government imposed taxes of up to $100.00. PFCs of up to $16 and the September 11 Security Fee of up to $10 per roundtrip ticket are additional and must be paid at time of reservation. If the customer is not completely satisfied with our service, EOS will refund the fare less applicable taxes and fees. Customers seeking refunds must notify Eos in writing within 48 hours of the completion of their last flown segment and detail their reason(s) for dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction due to circumstances beyond Eos' control are exempted from refundability. Customers must be first time Eos customers and have flown at least four flight segments in British Airways ClubWorld or First Class, or Virgin Atlantic Airways Upper Class during the period September 15, 2005 to April 11, 2006. Customers must provide to EOS via mail or fax copies of valid mileage program statements or ticket receipts with boarding passes evidencing travel as specified above at least 7 days prior to travel on Eos. Determination of eligibility is made at the sole discretion of Eos Airlines, Inc. Reservations must be made by April 12. Customer may change travel plans without penalty. All travel must be completed by May 26, 2006. Unused travel has no value and will not be eligible for refund or change. Offer is valid for travel purchases made with a US billing address by April 12, 2006 and is limited to one ticket purchase per customer. This offer is not combinable with any other promotion.