Fly the Branded Skies


Agency: Wells Rich Greene

These are posts from Fly the Branded Skies about Wells Rich Greene.

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.

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Jingle: Braniff “We Better Be Better” (1980)

We better be better. We're Braniff!

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.

And in some cases, pride goeth before the fall.

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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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Jingle: TWA “Up up and away” (1967)

Listen: Trans World Airlines: “Up Up and Away”

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.

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The day the industry changed

Most people will tell you that the airline industry changed 32 years ago today—the day Jimmy Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act.

In fact, there are some people who will tell you that October 24, 1978 was the day everything that ever has changed or ever will change in the airline industry, changed.

Not me. For my money, the day the industry changed was 20 years ago, when Young & Rubicam resigned Trans World Airlines.   Read more

Tropes: Sex

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:

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