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.
Listen: Braniff International Airways: “We Better Be Better”
The problem with jingles is that they almost inevitably sound prideful. When you get a bunch of singers to belt out an anthem to consumerism, the advertiser tends to sound like it’s pretty proud of itself. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with a little pride. It’s just that, ultimately, consumers get to decide whether you really have anything to sing about.
There was a time when TWA was actually a pretty cool airline. It inhabited a pretty cool airport terminal. Thanks to its association with Howard Hughes, and his association with Hollywood, it flew pretty cool passengers.
And for a brief moment, in 1967, it had a pretty cool — and ultimately notorious — jingle.
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.
Last month, the Flight Attendants Association of Australia vowed to take the Russian airline AviaNova to the International Transport Federation over an ad the low-cost carrier recently produced. The ad depicts the airline’s unusual (and, let’s be honest, pretty inefficient) method for washing its planes. In a shameless play for more visitors, I include that video below: