Fly the Branded Skies

Jingle: TWA “A Taste of Europe” (1975)

A taste of Europe flying in the U.S.A. TWA.

Listen: Trans World Airlines: “A Taste of Europe”

It was a different industry in 1975. The route maps of most U.S. carriers were limited to North America, with a few tendrils reaching out to Hawaii or the Caribbean. Only three airlines flew across the Atlantic, and one of them, National, only flew one route from Miami to London. Pan Am dominated the transatlantic market but it was prohibited from flying domestically within the United States.

Only Trans World Airlines combined European flying with a robust domestic network. Only TWA flew from New York to Frankfurt as well as Kansas City to Wichita.

What’s clever about this campaign is how TWA took advantage of its European flights — to sell tickets to people who weren’t flying to Europe.

In 1975, the economy was in recession, fares and routes were still regulated, and the airline industry had massively overbet on wide-body planes, leading to overcapacity. Times were not good. TWA seized upon one of the few things that made it different from other U.S. carriers.

The campaign created by Wells Rich Greene promised European service even on domestic flights. It starred Peter Sellers, who had never done commercials before, as three characters: one English, one Italian, and one Scottish:

The jingle, by Steve Karmen, is very catchy. The lyrics are pretty dull with some painfully facile rhymes. But as you can see in the commercials, the lyrics weren’t really used anyway. In the demo version here, the instrumentation doesn’t seem quite right — it reminds me less of Europe than of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and at times it sounds like Animal was playing the cymbals. But the arrangements used in the commercials feel much more appropriate.

Of course the only reason TWA offered “a taste of Europe flying in the U.S.A.” was that there was nothing else they could do. Prices and routes were regulated and the whole industry’s jumbo jets were flying half-empty. “Lasagna over Los Angeles” was all they had left to compete. Within a few years, that would change.

Airline: Trans World Airlines
Title: “A Taste of Europe”
Agency: Wells Rich Greene, New York
Written By: Steve Karmen
Sung by: Unknown
Year: 1975

There’s a taste of Europe,
flying in the U.S.A.

Instrumental bridge

There’s a brand new kind of service
when you fly from here to there.
And we call it Trans World Service
’cause it’s Europe in the air.

You can watch a different movie.
You can taste a different wine.
And the European kitchen
is going to make the trip just fine.

It’s Trans World Service,
all around the U-S-A.
Once you try it you will never want to fly another way!

Yes, we know the style of Europe,
’cause we fly there every day.
Now we put the taste of Europe
Right here in the U-S-A.

It’s Trans World Service,
all around the U-S-A.
Once you try it you will never want to fly another way!

It’s a taste of Europe,
flying in the U-S-A.
T-W-A! T-W-A!

You’ll get Trans World Service,
flying in the U-S-A
T-W-A! T-W-A!

It’s a taste of Europe,
flying in the U-S-A.
T-W-A! T-W-A!


  • GVA

    As a former TWA employee, just fantastic to hear that ! It’s bringing back great memories. We worked hard to have our customers satisfied and we felt proud. :)