Spirit Airlines Is Getting Heat for Using the Naked Celeb Scandal to Sell Plane Tickets

This week, your social media is probably just a clogged drain of news, speculation, rumor, and blah, all themed around the celebrity nude photo scandal. To recap: Hackers targeted big names like actress Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton and others this weekend, somehow springing nude photos from their private email accounts. But instead of occasioning crude jokes, the situation seems to be a tipping point, with people taking the invasion of privacy as a serious and scary breach. But that's not going to stop America's cheapest airline based here in South Florida from making a few extra bucks.

Yesterday afternoon, as the news cycle continued to churn out stories on the situation, Spirit Airlines binged customers' inboxes with a promotional deal. The subject was "Our Selfie Leaked Too..." The Miramar-based air carrier announced inside: "Our Bare Fare Was Leaked!"

We feel naked; you were never supposed to see this Bare Fare! It was meant for a special someone (who isn't you). Now it's all over the Internet for you to take advantage of as you see fit. Scandalous! We thought the cloud was our friend, y'know, because we spend so much time flying with 'em. But now our private prices are on display! Bad for us; GREAT for you.

The company's "Bare Fare" deal has been around since earlier in the year, offering flights at the lowlowlow price of around $33. But here... yeah... it's just a little too much. It's not just that the promotion pitch doesn't make much sense. It's also in pretty bad taste, seeing that we're talking about the exploitation of people's most personal moments -- these people just happen to be megafamous. Exploitation nonetheless.

Of course, in the past, Spirit hasn't been afraid of using the headlines or controversy to sell a couple of extra seats. In 2008, it pitched consumers with a "Return of the MILF (Many Islands, Low Fares)" deal. When oil from the BP spill was washing up on the Gulf in 2012, Spirit invited customers to "Check out the oil on our beaches" -- referring, supposedly, to suntan oil. Then in November 2013, when Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was burning holes in his political career with a crack pipe, Spirit sent out a deal announcing, "We're not smoking crack."

The "Bare Fare" ad caught heat in the blog world, with Jezebel, the Wall Street Journal and others weighing in on the boneheaded marketing move.

Spirit kind of has, and hasn't, backed down thanks to complaints. "It was not meant to be offensive," the airline announced in a release. "We have a long history of taking major, national news stories and connecting them to our marketing. Most people think they're funny, and accept them for what they are. We realize and accept that a small group of people might not think the same way."

It's since taken down the ad.

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Kyle Swenson
Contact: Kyle Swenson