Fly the Branded Skies

 

Introduction

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.”

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Listen: Pan Am: “Once in a Lifetime: Put a Dime in the Slot”

In an age when most Americans fly at least once a year, it’s easy to forget that not so long ago they might have flown just once in a lifetime — if at all. As recently as 1965, only one in five Americans had ever flown on an airplane.

Pan Am was going to do something about that. For them, it was a matter of survival.
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Flyby Wire:  November 24th, 2013

Fly By: 24 November 2013

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: Aeroflot: “Aeroflot”

In the 1960s, Aeroflot had something of a public relations problem. Although it was then the world’s largest airline — and a vital link for its vast motherland — its reputation for Soviet austerity was well-earned. On domestic routes, passengers endured indifferent service, chronically oversold flights, and uncomfortable aircraft. The situation was so dire that a 1960 column in Komsomolskaya Pravda, the official newspaper of the youth wing of the Communist Party, openly criticized the state-owned airline: “Unfortunately no genuine concern for passengers is felt in Aeroflot.”

So Aeroflot did something distinctly un-Soviet: it turned increasingly to Western marketing techniques. Techniques that included a jingle sung by none other than Eduard Khil, Mr. Trololo himself.   Read more

You may now use approved personal electronic devices

In celebration of the FAA’s decision to allow airline passengers to use their personal electronics gate-to-gate, I’ve redesigned Fly the Branded Skies to work on mobile devices. Everything should now look as good on your phone as it does on your desktop, and you should now be able to play jingles on your mobile device. If you find any bugs, please let me know! And stay tuned for more new content.

Image credit: Photograph by askpang. Ruined in Photoshop by me. Creative Commons.

Flyby Wire:  October 1st, 2013

The Work This Week: October 1st, 2013

Welcome to the 17th issue of The Work This Week, a weekly roundup of new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week, jetBlue airs on the side of humanity, Thomas Cook grows a heart, and Air France redesigns its cabins for the rest of us.
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Flyby Wire:  September 22nd, 2013

Welcome to the 16th issue of The Work This Week, a weekly roundup of new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week, the friendly skies are back.
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Flyby Wire:  September 16th, 2013

The Work This Week: September 16th, 2013

Welcome to the 15th issue of The Work This Week, a weekly roundup of new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week, easyJet borrows from Pepsi, Singapore Air brings you the world, and Norwegian goes all the way.
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Flyby Wire:  September 9th, 2013

The Work This Week: September 9th, 2013

Welcome to the fourteenth issue of The Work This Week, a weekly roundup of new advertising, identity, and brand experience work from around the airline industry. This week, almost every airline ever launches a fall advertising campaign.
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Wet Paint

[Censored]

On Sunday, a Thai International Airways A330 carrying 280 passengers skidded off the runway while landing in Bangkok. There were 14 injuries but, thankfully, no fatalities.

A regrettable accident, to be sure. But the world might barely have noticed if ambulances and fire trucks had been the only vehicles to respond to the emergency. Instead, within hours, Thai also dispatched a bucket truck. In the dead of night, airline workers painted over the logo on the tail and the titles on the fuselage — in full view of photographers.
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About

Fly the Branded Skies celebrates the past of airline branding and contemplates the future, from the perspective of Cameron Fleming, an advertising copywriter in New York. See how it all started »

Follow @brandedskies for updates. The opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of my agency or its clients.