Southwest Airlines produced an aerobics video for its employees, inspired by the famous incident, popularly known as “Malice in Dallas.”
Herb, the founder and CEO of Southwest Airlines, studied English and Philosophy at Wesleyan. He went on to study law at NYU. Gizmodo covers the history of the dispute over a slogan in the early ’90s:
On October 22, 1990, Southwest introduced a new slogan in Phoenix, “Just Plane Smart.” They used that slogan for about 15 months until they got a call from Stevens Aviation in Greenville, South Carolina. Apparently, they had been using the slogan “Plane Smart” prior to Southwest.
Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees and letting the courts decide the matter, Stevens Aviation chairman Kurt Herwald came up (along with executive vice-president Stephen Townes) with an idea. They challenged the CEO of Southwest, Herb Kelleher, to an arm wrestling match for the rights to the slogan “Plane Smart.”
Herwald pinned Kelleher’s arm for the win. Boos erupted from the crowd in Dallas, but Herwald won fair and square, meaning Stevens Aviation got to keep the slogan. But Kurt Herwald decided to do things a bit different one more time. He allowed Southwest to use the slogan too as a show of good sportsmanship and for Southwest’s willingness to accept such a crazy proposal in the first place when so many other companies would have simply gone to court.
Image thumb: AP/Wide World Photos
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