In a hastily arranged press conference on Sunday afternoon, representatives of Greyhound announced new initiatives to attract and service the ‘cold feet bridal' market-wanting to quickly capitalize on the cross-country gaunt made famous by Georgia native and runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks this past week. Greyhound executives were quick to note that ‘runaway bridegrooms' would not be excluded from this specialty market.
Understanding that this customer base may be used to normally traveling via more upscale means, such as luxury vehicles or airplanes, Greyhound will begin providing special services and amenities, effective immediately. Haircuts will be offered at all Greyhound bus stations during operating hours to eliminate any further loss of self-esteem from a self-induced chopping. Recognizing that runaway brides and bridegrooms will be traveling without normal conveniences, care packages will be available from bus station attendants as well. In addition to basic toiletries, the kits also will contain a teddy bear and blanket for that eventual trip home.
To accommodate even the latest decision to escape, Greyhound welcomes brides in their gown attire. "Our two-seat structure makes this easy for us," one Greyhound representative noted. "However, some gowns will require both seats-particularly those traditional hoop skirts well-known in the South-and, in such an instance, we will have to charge double fare. Greyhound executives added they conducted a trial run with such a wedding gown in one of its bus' bathrooms…just to be sure it would accommodate the 'needs' of these passengers.
To get the word out, Greyhound will launch a new print and broadcast advertising campaign targeted to these customers. It will feature this headline: "Afraid to take that walk down the aisle? Try ours." Ads will feature the tagline: New quicker service. Stop less. Run faster. Media placement includes popular bridal magazines and The Wedding Channel.
Greyhound recognizes that not all families will welcome their runaways back with open arms-and then be willing to foot the bill for an airline ticket home. For those customers, Greyhound offers a new 'RETURN HOME' half-price fare.
Greyhound executives admitted this opportunity opens a whole new marketplace for their company. "We want to be sure we are doing everything we can to nurture and satisfy this niche customer."