Fly the Branded Skies

 
 

Agency: N.W. Ayer

These are posts from Fly the Branded Skies about N.W. Ayer.

Jingle: “Say Hello to Pan Am” (1980)

Say Hello to Pan Am

Listen: Pan American World Airways: “Say Hello to Pan Am”

It’s big. It’s brassy. It’s got pizzaz coming out of its ears. It’s “Say Hello to Pan Am”: the theme song to the most disastrous merger in airline history.
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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.

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Jingle: United “Fly the Friendly Skies” (1965)

Fly the friendly skies of United.

Listen: United Air Lines: “Fly the Friendly Skies”

“Fly the Friendly Skies” is without question the best-known airline tagline of all time, and it oughta be. United used it for more than 30 years.

That in itself is rare. Even rarer is the fact that for all those years, United employed the same advertising agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago.

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Tropes: The Singing Jumbo Jet

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.

There’s an old joke that, when faced with creating advertising, the British crack a joke, the French get naked, and Americans sing.

If that introduction got your hopes up that this post would be full of jokes, or, even better, naked people, I’m sorry to disappoint. No, this post is about singing—something airlines used to do it a lot.

Today, a song in a commercial is far more likely to be licensed than commissioned. But there was a time when jingles were very popular, and no category used them more often than airlines. In fact, airlines may have elevated the jingle to its greatest heights. This one (by Leo Burnett / song credits) is liable to get stuck in your head:

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