It’s Not Cheating When on Vacation: Is That Wrong?

“I  was surprised by this Lufthansa ad with an innuendo of cheating on your spouse – feels a bit inappropriate to me…” is what Dan Miller wrote in this article pertaining to this provocative Lufthansa ad about cheating on your spouse inappropriate at Points with a Crew.

It’s Not Cheating When on Vacation: Is That Wrong?

It’s Not Cheating When on Vacation

Disclaimer: this advertisement has an affiliate link attached to it. Source: Lufthansa.

Although Matthew Klint of Live and Let’s Fly never outright stated what he thought the advertisement in question meant in this article, he did imply the perception of a potential double entendre to the line “It’s not cheating when on vacation” when he wrote “Ad analytics are getting better than ever, though I was shocked at one Lufthansa ad that has been plastering my screen the last 24 hours.”

Perhaps my mind works differently than Dan Miller and Matthew Klint; but what I saw in the advertisement — which I have seen here at The Gate — was a woman enjoying a piece of cake. Perhaps the plunging neckline of the white blouse and the look on her face might imply something else; but I simply interpreted the message of that advertisement as that the diet will have to wait until the woman returns from her holiday.

Although I would not call myself an expert on advertising, I have been involved with advertising in various degrees over the years and have studied it as part of earning my undergraduates degree — including the semiotics of advertising — and have even created advertisements from concept to execution for clients of my own company as the designer, copywriter, photographer and account executive.

The main purpose of advertising is to compel you to purchase a product or service you otherwise might not have thought of purchasing — or perhaps to convince you to definitively take action if you had been thinking about purchasing a product or service but had not yet decided to do so.

Different Forms of Advertising

There are many different forms of advertising — the details of all of which I will not delve into in this article.

There is direct straightforward advertising in which the advertiser informs you of a product or service about which you might not have know or been aware. Sometimes people are convinced to purchase based on price — perhaps there is an enticing sale on airfares, room rates in hotels, or free days when you rent a vehicle for a certain amount of time — while other times people are convinced to purchase based on benefits, amenities or cool features in an effort to instill potential perceived value for your money.

Advertising can also be in the form of a public service announcement — such as an oil company giving advice on how to save energy; or updating readers on the progress it is taking to become more friendly to the environment…

…and then there are the more subliminal forms of advertising — the ones which may contain double entendres, innuendos or hidden messages, for example. As with the Lufthansa advertisement, they are designed to have you think messages which do not exist anywhere in the advertisement.

My interpretation of the advertisement in question is that it is not only okay to indulge in whatever gratifies and satisfies you; but it is actually encouraged. Unless you have naughty thoughts like cheating on a significant other in various ways or you view the message as a sign of succumbing to weakness, I think this is a good message with which to abide. Try new things which are not a part of your daily routine at home. Do something you have not done in a long time. Express yourself without inhibition. Have a good time…

…in other words, flying Lufthansa as a passenger is like eating cake when you are on a diet. That is what the airline seems to be selling.

Controversial Advertising

Some advertisements do tend to be controversial. Consider this advertisement from Hilton Worldwide with a photograph showing two men in bed together, both wearing shirts. One man has his arm around the other man, who is holding his hand. Both appear to be having a good time listening to music. I was criticized by the majority of readers of The Gate who commented on their disappointment of me even writing an article about that – despite my clearly stating that I find nothing wrong with Hilton Worldwide marketing to customers who prefer relationships with others of the same gender and that “the advertisement does not bother me.”

Then there was the “advertisement” — actually, more of a concept created as a joke — for Ukraine International Airlines back in 2012 showing the Statue of Liberty in bed with Jesus Christ in a cheap motel room with the implication that they had just completed intercourse. Jesus Christ is even holding a lit cigarette in his right hand as it is sprawled out on the night table adjacent to the bed. “Make the World Closer” was the headline of the poster. Could you imagine the controversy and outcry if that was an actual advertisement?

Are there any advertisements you have seen in the travel industry over the years which you have considered controversial?

Summary

Let’s face it: although I try not to indulge in it, click-bait — as well as its antecedents — sells; and sex sells. Like it or not, this has been a fact of life throughout the existence of human beings — and it will undoubtedly continue for as long as human beings exist on this earth.

In the case of the Lufthansa advertisement in question, the wording of “It’s not cheating when on vacation” could automatically imply in the minds of some people that sex is a part of the equation — even though there is no definitive inference in the advertisement itself. Like the now-legendary slogan “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, the slogan is designed to cause people to think naughty thoughts — but I really do not believe Lufthansa is promoting cheating on your significant other.

“My advice to Lufthansa: market that you have lie-flats in business”, Matthew Klint wrote in his aforementioned article. “Many clients still think you have the old seats. Market German hospitality and free alcohol to economy travelers. Leave the innuendo to Spirit and Ryanair.”

Although there are times Spirit Airlines and Ryanair might push their messages a little too far, I will have to respectfully disagree with Matthew Klint on this one. My mantra in life is simple: have fun. As a person who is known to purposely play on words — though I do not do it often enough at The Gate but sure have a reputation for it in “real life” and on FlyerTalk — I see nothing wrong with having fun with a headline for an article or an advertisement as long as it is not intentionally deceptive or illegal in any way.

Source: Lufthansa.


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4 thoughts on “It’s Not Cheating When on Vacation: Is That Wrong?”

  1. Billy Bob says:

    Not everyone has sex on the brain 24/7.

    It’s about food and staying in shape.

  2. NB says:

    The negative comments about the ad and its double entendre merely showed a lack of a sense of humor.

  3. Matthew says:

    I still maintain the double entendre was clear. I was truly was in no way offended by the ad, just find it amusing this is the best Lufthansa can come up with when people still think it has business class seats circa-2004.

  4. Andy says:

    First, I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the use of the word “vacation” in an ad for a european carrier. That seems odd to me and suggests that this ad was likely meant specifically for the non “holiday” market.

    Regarding the ad though; I’m with you Brian. The woman appears to be eating a pastry of some sort, walking away from a storefront that clearly shows the letters “Past….” I too see this as “cheating” on a diet of some sort. The implication is that part of a vacation is to unwind and not worry so much. I don’t believe that it’s implying that morals take on new definitions while on vacation.

    Maybe I’m just getting old, but other than the fact that the lady in the ad is attractive, I see nothing suggesting sexual infidelity at all. Likewise, there is nothing in the ad suggesting financial malfeasance, yet no one is up in arms about Lufthansa saying it’s OK to cheat on your taxes if you file while in vacation.

    Maybe it’s as Maslow said “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

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