Southwest Airlines

In 1997 while employed by GSD&M Advertising in Austin, TX, Jennifer and her writing partner, Rich Tlapek, wrote Southwest Airline’s “Ding” tagline.

The strategy was: Southwest’s affordable flights let you fly more places. Quickly, the team determined that it wasn’t just that a person could save money and drive less (dozens of airlines could and were claiming monetary benefits), but offering something with an even higher value, an experience. Southwest was enabling a lifestyle change. Now, you can see all the places you couldn’t before.

“I remember Rich staring off into space and saying rather nonchalantly, “I’d like this tagline to have a sound.” Well, there are only so many sounds associated with flying…so we proceeded to reproduce them all. We probably sounded like total nut-cases to those who passed by my office. When we got to the “bong” sound, I mimicked the instructional voice which always accompanies the turning off of the seatbelt sign, but replaced the word “cabin” with “country” jokingly to reflect the positioning we’d settled on.

Southwest Airlines used—Ding. You’re now free to move about the country until 2007. In 2008, a gold star was issue by the National Advertising Hall of Fame and installed on New York City’s street’s sidewalk in commemoration of Southwest’s DING tagline.