Frontier Airlines "Save the Animals" rally today argues against name change: "You saw how New Coke went"

As we noted in a blog yesterday about Frontier Airlines' wacky new ad (in which a cougar asks, "Who wouldn't like five more inches?"), Republic Airways Holdings is in the process of deciding if it should change the name of its recent acquisition.

Frontier pilot Janet Vaughn-Elliott says "no" -- and she and potentially hundreds of like-minded supporters will demonstrate how strongly they feel about this issue at a "Save the Animals" rally to take place at the Capitol and the 16th Street Mall today.

Vaughn-Elliott believes that retaining the Frontier moniker is "critical to our success, and potentially to my job down the line."

Talking animals mean that much?

"Absolutely," she says, noting that if Republic "comes up with a generic brand, then we're just like everybody else. Right now, we have unique branding that really helped pull us through the tough spots" caused by Frontier's bankruptcy filing. "Why would you want to give that up? So I see keeping the animals as a kind of job security."

With that in mind, Vaughn-Elliott and a couple of friends created a Facebook group called "KEEP THE FRONTIER BRAND AND ANIMALS!!!!" a couple of weeks ago -- "and it went viral," she says. "We're already up to 4,400 members."

Amid this rush of enthusiasm, the page's braintrust came up with the idea of a rally just over a week ago. Since then, they've received approximately 300 Facebook confirmations of attendance, with another 600 or so maybes. In addition, Vaughn-Elliot notes, "I've put up lots of fliers to spread the word. So it's a bit of a wild card how many people will come. But we're hoping for a couple of hundred, at least."

However many folks participate in person, Vaughn-Elliott knows there are plenty more who feel the same way she does about Frontier's wild kingdom.

"There's a myriad of comments on our page, and I'd say the vast majority are not from Frontier employees," she allows. "They're like, 'What do you mean the animals might go away? I love them, my kids love them, everybody loves them.' They're part of the culture around here -- and I think anywhere Frontier advertises, people would have the same reaction."

Still, Vaughn-Elliott emphasizes that fondness for Griz the bear and his pals is only part of her motivation.

"It's two-fold," she says. "I love the animals myself. Who doesn't? But from a business standpoint, I think they've got a brilliant, genius ad campaign, and they'd be crazy to let go of it. You saw how New Coke went..."

Participants in the rally are asked to gather at 11:30 a.m. today Civic Center Park -- the corner of 14th and Broadway. At noon, this group will then head to the 16th Street Mall on their mission of mercy. Will Republic listen?

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