Spirit Airlines is offering a deal on flights to the Toronto area, in ads that directly reference the scandal around Mayor Rob Ford's admission that he has smoked crack.
The ads on the website spirit.com show a silhouette of a man who looks like Mayor Ford, with smoke coming from his mouth. In the corner of the frame is a red circle and the word "record," referencing the video in police possession allegedly showing the Mayor smoking drugs. The ad states, "We're not smoking crack … this fare sale is real."
The American discount airline is offering flights to the "Toronto area" for roughly $30 and up each way. (The flights are actually to Niagara Falls, N.Y., roughly an hour and a half drive from Toronto, not counting the wait at the border.)
The scandal that has consumed City Hall has drawn international attention: a Council meeting on Wednesday was at times broadcast live on U.S. networks such as CNN. The advertisement is a direct attempt to capitalize on that news.
According to the website redalertpolitics.com, Spirit has referenced scandals in the news in its advertising before, formerly posting an ad referencing New York politician Anthony Weiner's troubles with a "The Weiner Rises Again" promotion.
Many in Toronto are bemoaning the fact that Toronto is receiving more publicity for the Ford scandal than for anything in years. Some creatives at a Toronto ad agency have started a campaign entitled "More Than Ford" in an attempt to push a more positive image for the city.