“Champagne, sir?” asks the flight attendant.
“Oh, no, I couldn’t possibly,” I answer graciously as I recline in my first-class seat, nonstop from New York to Nice. My seat companion, a famous movie star, wants to hear my story about that shoot I went on that one time, but I’ve already delighted her with it seven times and now I grow weary. I settle in for a few hours of blissful slumber.
Yes, fine, you’re right, this flight is only happening in my imagination. For the fourth year in a row, Branded Skies reports on Cannes from nearly 4,000 miles away.
But what a year it has been for airline brands. For the first time since 2009, work for an airline won a Grand Prix. Of course, it won in the least likely category. But that’s Cannes, where a billboard with no response mechanism at all can be crowned the best direct response work of the year.
It doesn’t have to make sense.
On the first Monday in March, 1961, the unthinkable struck Eastern Air Lines: a deficit. After 26 years of profits, Eastern declared a loss of $3.6 million.
The loss in 1960 marked the beginning of a decade of change at Eastern. It revealed fundamental problems from which the airline would never really recover. But it also spurred one of the most remarkable reinventions of any airline brand, ever. The changes at Eastern went far beyond a new coat of paint on its airplanes. They reflected an airline that not only portrayed itself differently, but saw itself differently.
For in just ten years, Eastern went from “bums on seats” to “the Wings of Man.”
Editor’s Note: The Work This Week will go on a brief hiatus as I travel for work. It will return on Sunday, August 25th.
Welcome to the twelfth issue of The Work This Week, a weekly roundup of new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week, Jat Airways flies into the history books, Virgin Australia knocks over the Eiffel Tower, and a son visits his mum in Mumbai.
Welcome to the sixth issue of The Work This Week, a weekly roundup of new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week, it’s the annual Cannes issue! Who won? Who lost? Who got blackout drunk and passed out on la Croisette? It’s all here! Except for “who lost” and “who got drunk,” because we keep things classy.
“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.
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
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
If only getting your first job in advertising really were this easy. In this spot from the 80s, a young woman flies United to New York—and by the time the plane lands, she’s landed a job at Young & Rubicam (or at least, an agency in the same building.)