Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Corporate Jet Maker Says, "If you give up your private jet, you are a wuss"

Maybe the company did not use the term "wuss," but in their latest ad campaign, Cessna, maker of fine corporate aircraft, did say that executives who give up their corporate jets are pretty much cowards. Welcome to another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. When the maker of a corporate jet pretty much has to resort to calling out their potential clients, labeling them as lacking vision or being chicken, you know the economy is bad.

Read a little more about this in The Wall Street Journal here. The main problem is that corporate jet makers are down on the mat much like the auto industry. According to J. Lynn Lunsford in the WSJ, "Orders for business jets nose-dived after lawmakers pilloried leaders of Detroit's Big Three auto makers for flying corporate planes to Washington to seek a government bailout." So Congress shamed the executives for excessive spending at a time when their companies are laying off people left and right and then having the gall to ask for government bailout money. So Cessna, in a bout of inspiration, decides to tell executives, "are you men or mice? What the fuck are you letting Congress tell you how to travel? Damn it, you are a high powered executive paid to make big decisions (no one said they had to be good decisions). You deserve that big jet." After all, it is not just a jet, it is a flying office in the words of Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (from the WSJ article). It just so happens it is an office with a variety of luxury amenities you won't be getting on a commercial aircraft. For instance, drinks from the bar, anyone? Because we all know every office has a bar as part of the work environment. And what better way to get work done at 10,000 feet or so than with some Crown Royal on the rocks?

It is a bit shameful the jet maker has to resort to this kind of campaign, but it is basically another sign the economy is bad. Let's be honest: Cessna pretty much makes a luxury item (well, their corporate jets at least). Then again, if you hear it from Cessna (link to their corporate press release and campaign), they would have you think that their private jets are a necessity of the corporate world. They call it a "leadership campaign." Because heaven forbid those high priced CEOs have to fly in a commercial aircraft like the rest of us. Could it be that those CEOs are just not like the rest of us? So dang it, put that private jet to work and bring the country back to prosperity (their line). What of it if you are spending on fuel, the jet, and other costs while laying off a few people? Who cares if you may be getting your salary capped, and who gives a shit that your woman may be leaving you because you are broke? You may not be man enough for that gold digger, but you better have the balls to keep the jet, preferably a Cessna jet (and yes, I did notice most of the references in the ads imply male CEOs. Apparently female CEOs are a scarce rarity nor do they fly corporate jets). In the words of Hamilton Nolan at Gawker, if you give up your jet, you are one of the "bitch-ass punks." Actually, Mr. Nolan is a bit more spicy in the language than I am, but the message is the same. Cessna is calling those executives out, pure and simple.

After all, Cessna has employees too, dang it. Just lay off a few more auto plant workers or construction machinery workers. You'll see that nice, little, manly, and fast jet practically pay for itself after you let go a few hundred or thousand people and get some salary savings. After all, we need to keep the economy running and flying, don't we?

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