Fly the Branded Skies

 
 

Two airlines go back to their roots

Heart One. Stephen M. KellerA pilot draws strength from Southwest’s new heart logo. (Source: Stephen M. Keller/Southwest Airlines)

By a remarkable coincidence, two U.S. airlines launched new brand identities this week. Southwest revealed its new look at a lavish ceremony on Monday. Frontier unveiled its new look at a somewhat less fancy event earlier today. And the week is young — who knows what excitement is yet to come!

In their own ways, both Southwest and Frontier are returning to their roots. That makes sense for one airline; it’s a perplexing choice for the other. The difference says a lot about what it means to be a “low-cost carrier” today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nonstop to Cannes

“Champagne, sir?” asks the flight attendant.

“Oh, no, I couldn’t possibly,” I answer graciously as I recline in my first-class seat, nonstop from New York to Nice. My seat companion, a famous movie star, wants to hear my story about that shoot I went on that one time, but I’ve already delighted her with it seven times and now I grow weary. I settle in for a few hours of blissful slumber.

Yes, fine, you’re right, this flight is only happening in my imagination. For the fourth year in a row, Branded Skies reports on Cannes from nearly 4,000 miles away.

But what a year it has been for airline brands. For the first time since 2009, work for an airline won a Grand Prix. Of course, it won in the least likely category. But that’s Cannes, where a billboard with no response mechanism at all can be crowned the best direct response work of the year.

It doesn’t have to make sense.

Read the rest of this entry »

From bums on seats to the Wings of Man

From bums on seats to the Wings of Man

On the first Monday in March, 1961, the unthinkable struck Eastern Air Lines: a deficit. After 26 years of profits, Eastern declared a loss of $3.6 million.

The loss in 1960 marked the beginning of a decade of change at Eastern. It revealed fundamental problems from which the airline would never really recover. But it also spurred one of the most remarkable reinventions of any airline brand, ever. The changes at Eastern went far beyond a new coat of paint on its airplanes. They reflected an airline that not only portrayed itself differently, but saw itself differently.

For in just ten years, Eastern went from “bums on seats” to “the Wings of Man.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Jingle: Pan Am “Once in a Lifetime” (1969)

For once in a lifetime, get into this world. Pan Am.

Listen: Pan Am: “Once in a Lifetime: Put a Dime in the Slot”

In an age when most Americans fly at least once a year, it’s easy to forget that not so long ago they might have flown just once in a lifetime โ€” if at all. As recently as 1965, only one in five Americans had ever flown on an airplane.

Pan Am was going to do something about that. For them, it was a matter of survival.
Read the rest of this entry »

Flyby Wire:  November 24th, 2013

Fly By: 24 November 2013

Welcome to Flyby Wire, a weekly look at new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week: look up! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s British Airways! Read the rest of this entry »

Jingle: “Aeroflot” (1969)

Aeroflot

Listen: Aeroflot: “Aeroflot”

In the 1960s, Aeroflot had something of a public relations problem. Although it was then the world’s largest airline โ€” and a vital link for its vast motherland โ€” its reputation for Soviet austerity was well-earned. On domestic routes, passengers endured indifferent service, chronically oversold flights, and uncomfortable aircraft. The situation was so dire that a 1960 column in Komsomolskaya Pravda, the official newspaper of the youth wing of the Communist Party, openly criticized the state-owned airline: “Unfortunately no genuine concern for passengers is felt in Aeroflot.”

So Aeroflot did something distinctly un-Soviet: it turned increasingly to Western marketing techniques. Techniques that included a jingle sung by none other than Eduard Khil, Mr. Trololo himself. Read the rest of this entry »

You may now use approved personal electronic devices

In celebration of the FAA’s decision to allow airline passengers to use their personal electronics gate-to-gate, I’ve redesigned Fly the Branded Skies to work on mobile devices. Everything should now look as good on your phone as it does on your desktop, and you should now be able to play jingles on your mobile device. If you find any bugs, please let me know! And stay tuned for more new content.

Image credit: Photograph by askpang. Ruined in Photoshop by me. Creative Commons.

Flyby Wire:  October 1st, 2013

The Work This Week: October 1st, 2013

Welcome to the 17th issue of The Work This Week, a weekly roundup of new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week, jetBlue airs on the side of humanity, Thomas Cook grows a heart, and Air France redesigns its cabins for the rest of us.
Read the rest of this entry »

Flyby Wire:  September 22nd, 2013

Welcome to the 16th issue of The Work This Week, a weekly roundup of new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week, the friendly skies are back.
Read the rest of this entry »

Flyby Wire:  September 16th, 2013

The Work This Week: September 16th, 2013

Welcome to the 15th issue of The Work This Week, a weekly roundup of new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week, easyJet borrows from Pepsi, Singapore Air brings you the world, and Norwegian goes all the way.
Read the rest of this entry »

About

Fly the Branded Skies celebrates the past of airline branding and contemplates the future, from the perspective of Cameron Fleming, an advertising copywriter in New York. See how it all started ยป

Follow @brandedskies for updates. The opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or its clients. Disclosure

New Wings