Smirnoff Wants To Save You From Airplane Middle Seats In Oddly Specific PR Gimmick

Brands like to run all sort of gimmicks to drum up some publicity for a product. It's mostly harmless, and a happy few can benefit from such schemes. Tour the world and drink gin! Eat champagne-battered, gold-flecked wings! Become a yogurt flavor-finder! Smirnoff has arrived with the latest, and it's extremely specific: They want to get you out of an airplane's dreaded middle seat and into something a little more comfortable.

It's all in support of Smirnoff Seltzer. The link between middle-seat life and boozy flavored sugar-free seltzer seems to be the idea that you should ditch things that aren't good. So, ditch the middle seat, just like Smirnoff Seltzer ditched sugar. Take it away, press release:

"The holidays are the best. Traveling for the holidays though...the worst," said Krista Kiisk, Brand Director, Smirnoff Seltzer. "We believe that there is an opportunity for fun in any moment, whether it's finding delicious flavor in a drink that contains zero sugar or embracing the chaos of holiday travel. Smirnoff Seltzer's holiday campaign and commitment to spend up to $50,000 to rescue as many people as possible from the misery of the middle seat is helping people find that fun."

A stretch, but who cares? This is a pretty solid perk, should you be fortunate enough to earn said perk. It works like this: You visit, input information for a your flight (lots of stipulations on that, more below), and write a little thing about why an upgrade would be the best way to start your holiday.

A judging panel reviews the entries, and then 16 people will win upgrades for one or both of their holiday flights, bumping them from the middle seat to business or first class, depending on availability (per a Smirnoff spokesperson). Entries must be received by December 14, and the contest rules state that your email address won't get sold to any creepy third parties. All good stuff.

However, the upgrading-from-middle-seat thing isn't the only super specific aspect of this contest. Some stipulations:

  • Travelers must be over 21, and legal residents of the U.S.
  • Flights must take place between December 17, 2018, and January 31, 2019
  • You have to have a middle seat assignment (sorry, Southwest travelers, especially me)
  • Your ticket has to be for coach (sorry, Richie Rich)
  • Flights have to be direct (makes sense logistically, but sorry, person flying to Seattle from Chicago with a stop in Denver)
  • "Void in AK, HI & where prohibited."
  • You have to be named Alexander Camelton
  • Only one of those is fake. You'll never guess which.

    Anyway, it's pretty solid, actually! The connection to seltzer is a bit of a stretch, but that's our one complaint—just like Smirnoff Seltzer contains only "one (fun) carb."