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.”
Welcome to Flyby Wire, a weekly look at new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week: look up! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s British Airways! Read more
Listen: National Airlines: “You're a National Priority”
The two key pronouns in airline advertising — in all advertising, really — are “we” and “you.” Fundamentally, all advertising is a simple proposition: Here’s what we have to offer; here’s what’s in it for you. Some advertising emphasizes the “we,” some advertising emphasizes the “you,” but pretty much all of it falls somewhere on that continuum. Read more
Listen: Western Airlines: “Western Pays a Buck a Flub — Rude”
Gawrsh, running an airline sure hurts your noggin. So many things to remember. Smile at the passengers, clean the lavatory, put down the landing gear… who could blame ya for goofin’ up sometimes? Aw-hyuck!
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.
For some unfathomable reason, people who would never believe today’s advertising will accept yesterday’s without question.
Take air travel. Passengers yearn for the “golden age” of air travel. When that golden age took place remains unclear. Maybe the 1950s. Maybe the 1960s. Perhaps even the 1970s. And hey, the 1980s had a lot going for them too. But everyone agrees the golden age ended long ago.
Of course, this “golden age” sprang as much from advertising as anything else. Reality fades away. Perceptions last. Read more
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.
Well, the Big Game is less than a week away and, like everyone else, Fly the Branded Skies is taking advantage of the buzz without all the hassle of paying a few million dollars for a sponsorship. This is an index to airline Super Bowl ads of the past 46 years. It draws extensively on Adland’s extensive archive of Super Bowl spots, with a few added in from YouTube. Read more