Every kind of advertising has—well, let’s call them “conventions.” Airline advertising is no different. This is part of a series of posts on the clichés of airline advertising.
Say you’re a regional airline trying to compete against the established mainline carriers, and you want to make a television commercial. What do you do? Simple! Follow this easy four-step process.
Step one. Cast an actor with comical features to play a businessman. (Bear in mind the advertising formula discovered in the 1980s: large nose + wide-angle lens + close-up = comedy.) Pepper in a few characters from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Step two. Shoot a commercial in which the businessman flies on a different, fictional airline. Make the other airline resemble a train to the gulag.
Step three. Add a comic soundtrack, preferably using a tuba.
Step four. Record a sardonic voiceover that starts with “Those other guys…”
Follow these steps, and what do you get? You get this. (Agency: Livingston & Company)
No, not literally, unfortunately. But for someone interested in airline branding, there wasn’t really that much to see at Cannes this year anyway. Mary Wells, famous for branding Braniff Airlines, once said that hard times call for hard selling, and last year’s times were very hard indeed for the airline industry.
Unfortunately, Cannes Lions are rarely given out for 1/8-page newspaper ads announcing seat sales.
There were, however, some winners—or, really, three: Norwegian Airlines, which won a bronze outdoor Lion for its cute “Last one to leave please turn out the lights” bus shelter, Germanwings, which won a bronze Film Lion for a gutsy and hilarious spot that I’ve embeded below, and Virgin, which won all the rest. Read more