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)
In one of the strangest examples of the Chinese menu approach United and Continental are taking to their new brand, the new company will keep using George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as its theme music. United first licensed Rhapsody in Blue in 1987 for $300,000 a year.
That’s quite a bit of money to spend on music. Yet United has invested even more in attaching Rhapsody in Blue to its brand. You hear it in commercials, on the plane, in airports; one company says it has created more than 50 different versions of the piece in genres ranging from jazz to rock to country. Rhapsody in Blue is as integral to United’s brand as its tulip logo designed by Saul Bass.
Which is funny, because of course that tulip logo is on the way out while Rhapsody in Blue remains. Read more