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Jingle: Republic “Gotten Together” (1979)

Listen: Republic Airlines: “Gotten Together”

Airline mergers are ugly. With a capital Ugh. Seniority lists need to be mashed together. Incompatible fleets need to be made compatible. Executive vice presidencies need to be redistributed. The fears of frequent fliers need to be assuaged.

And through it all, the advertising needs to stay bright and cheerful. Nothing to see here, folks. Look at how super happy all those employees are to be working together!

No, you can’t blame advertising for putting a happy face on an ugly merger. But this is just painful.

In 1979, Southern Airways and North Central Airlines were two relatively healthy regional airlines. North Central was the 17th biggest carrier in the U.S. Southern was the 15th. Both airlines primarily flew DC-9 aircraft. They served some of the same cities but none of the same routes. On paper, they were a perfect match. The Civil Aeronautics Board approved the merger, and Republic Airlines was born on July 1, 1979.

It was not, however, a merger of equals. Since Southern’s finances were somewhat shakier than North Central’s, North Central ended up on top. Republic’s logo was based on North Central’s “Herman the Duck.” North Central’s CEO, Bud Sweet, became Republic’s CEO. Former Southern executives left the company en masse.

So it’s no surprise that this film created for the employees of Republic Airlines feels… well, somewhat less than convincing. (We interrupt Bud Sweet right in the middle of staring intently at the wall.)

As awkward as that film was, though, I think it pales in comparison to the campaign for the public. Ed Labunski, the jingle writer most famous for “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet,” wrote a song that is painfully folksy. It just rings false. His introduction to the jingle—included on a record pressed for employees—is even worse. He actually says “and it goes something like this” to introduce the jingle.

Listen: Republic Airlines: “Gotten Together” (introduction)

Really? “Some guy in Milwaukee” called him to tell him “two old friends” are “gettin’ together?” Labunski also provides the voiceover for the commercials, and you can imagine what they sound like. They must’ve needed a big broom to sweep all the dropped Gs off the floor of the studio.

Apparently the campaign was fairly successful; it reportedly achieved 77 percent name recognition for Republic Airlines in just three weeks. And the merger between Southern and North Central wasn’t nearly so painful as other mergers to come (Pan Am and National, Republic and Northwest, US Airways and America West, and the list goes on…)

But I think the campaign’s print ad is telling. It features four employees standing together, two from each of the original carriers. Only it’s a bad cut and paste job. The employees were probably never even in the same room.

They’d never gotten together at all.

Airline: Republic Airlines
Title: “Gotten Together”
Agency: Hoffman-York, Milwaukee
Written By: Ed Labunski
Year: 1979

We’ve gotten together
to build your kind of airline.
We’re Republic Airlines.


We’ve gotten together
to build your kind of airline.
We’re Republic Airlines.
We’re Republic Airlines.