Fly the Branded Skies

Jingle: Pan Am “We Fly the World” (1979)

Pan Am: We fly the world the way the world wants to fly.

Listen: Pan American World Airways: “We Fly the World the Way the World Wants to Fly”

Today Pan Am is remembered as a luxury airline, largely by people who never flew it. But it was also an inclusive airline. Most of its advertising campaigns weren’t aimed at the international jetset—they were aimed at getting ordinary Americans to fly overseas, often for the first time.

This campaign was even more inclusive than most. The tagline couldn’t be more inclusive: Pan Am flies the world. And everyone in it. It’s a delightful line—reminiscent of Schaefer Beer’s “The one beer to have when you’re having more than one.” It has the kind of rhythm I love in a good tagline, which means it sounds great when it’s sung. (Unfortunately the rest of the lyrics in the song aren’t so great.)

But the biggest sign of inclusion was the media plan. In 1979, Pan Am still had no domestic route network; it flew only overseas, and only from nine cities in the U.S. At the time, only 8 percent of Americans held a passport (it’s now about 30 percent). For a decade, Pan Am had carefully targeted media to business travellers and people who lived in the nine “gateway” cities.

Not this time. This time, Pan Am targeted everyone. Because Pan Am bought a spot on the Super Bowl.

And they didn’t only target Americans. In 1978, Pan Am ditched its U.S. advertising agency, Ally & Gargano, and its worldwide agency, J. Walter Thompson. It was looking for one agency that could cover the entire globe. The winning agency, N.W. Ayer, set about creating a global network as soon as it was awarded the business, then briefed representatives from 26 agencies around the world to adapt the work. Ads from this campaign ran in 600 publications outside the U.S., in a multitude of languages.

The result was the airline equivalent of the Coca-Cola hilltop commercial. One world, united by a single airline.

Well, most of the world. Pan Am still couldn’t fly within the U.S. But that was about to change.

P.S. Apparently Pan Am liked this jingle so much, they brought it back shortly before going bankrupt. Panamair.org has a version of the song with a female singer apparently from the early 1990s. It certainly sounds like it’s from the 1990s.

P.P.S. I am fairly certain that this jingle was not only composed by Jake Holmes, but sung by him as well. This was quite common in the age of the jingle, not so much because jingle writers were such great singers, but because singing on their own tracks was the only way they could collect residuals. Composers traditionally were paid once for their work, and not that much; singers, who were members of the Screen Actors Guild, were paid every time a commercial aired. On a national broadcast network campaign like this one, Jake Holmes would’ve made a heck of a lot of money. For more information about the topsy-turvy jingle business, I suggest Who Killed the Jingle? by Steve Karmen.

Airline: Pan American World Airways
Title: “We Fly the World the Way the World Wants to Fly”
Agency: N.W. Ayer, New York
Written By: Jake Holmes
Sung by: Jake Holmes
Year: 1979
Lyrics

Every day the world awakens.
People dream of what awaits them.
Getting ready to go on out and
find their world.

Every day we fly we show ’em
the experience of knowin’
what the world wants when they want to fly
the world…

Pan Am. We fly the world
the way the world wants to fly.
Pan Am. We fly the world 
the way the world wants to fly.

Instrumental bridge.

Pan Am. We fly the world
the way the world wants to fly.
Pan Am. We fly the world
the way the world wants to fly.

Been around. We know the way.
Pioneers, even today.
For every person who wants to go and
find the world.

There’s a world that we can show you.
Through the years we’ve got to know you.
We know what you want when you want to fly
the world…

Pan Am. We fly the world
the way the world wants to fly.
Pan Am. We fly the world 
the way the world wants to fly.
(Pan Am.) We fly the world
the way the world wants to fly.
(Pan Am.) We fly the world 
the way the world wants to fly…

Reactions

  • José Hoover Benavides arana

    Please if you could send to my e mail the lyrics of the jingle of Pan Am “YOU CAN NOT BEAT THE EXPERIENCE”. I would appreciate very much.
    My e-mail is: benavidesarana@gmail.com
                         benavidesarana@yahoo.es 

    Atte.

    Hoover Benavides Arana.
    Palmira, Valle – Colombia. 

  • Jean da Costa

    You could send me this downloadable song to my email.
    jean_mario_13@outlook.com
    Rio de janeiro Brazil.