Fly the Branded Skies


Nonstop hoo

A Lufthansa owlThere’s a major shift going on at Germany’s largest airline, and it goes far beyond a new advertising agency.

This month, Lufthansa launched a new advertising campaign with the tagline “Nonstop you.” It’s the first new campaign from Kolle Rebbe, Hamburg, which won the business from McCann Berlin last year. And it seems to signal a very different Lufthansa.

The first television commercial, starring three adorable owls, is after the jump.

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The Nostalgia Problem

Stewardess with foodFor 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


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

Why safety isn’t safe

Pacific Airlines ad

You’re looking at the stupidest airline ad ever produced.

On April 28, 1967, Pacific Air Lines ran this full page ad in the New York Times. It was created by advertising (and comedy) legend Stan Freberg in a bid to bring some honesty to airline advertising. But while the ad may have been honest, it didn’t do much good for Pacific Air Lines.

It is not true, as is often reported, that the ad drove Pacific Air Lines into bankruptcy two months later. In fact, Pacific merged with two other carriers to form Air West, and the forces that compelled the merger had little to do with advertising. But the ad did, within days, cost the jobs of the airline’s vice president of marketing and its director of advertising, and it quickly became notorious.

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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


Eastern: The Wings of Man

You Above All

JetBlue has launched its first campaign from Mullen, which won the business from JWT in May after a review. The new campaign’s tagline: “You Above All.” JetBlue CEO Dave Barger explains what it means in this video:

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Team Building Exercise 2010

Seems the new Delta campaign (credits) already has a second spot (or is this one the first?) Visually, this one has much more impact than the other which, while beautifully shot, was a little generic. In terms of the content, though, “Human Factor” is a lot less daring. It turns out the challenges Delta faces are not of its own making—they are “every airline’s reality.” Don’t blame Delta.

There are two ways to look at this spot.   Read more

Keep Climbing

Nearly a year and a half after hiring Wieden + Kennedy as its agency of record, Delta has finally broken a new campaign under the tagline “Keep Climbing.” The launch television spot started airing in New York on Friday:

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Rhapsody in Blue (and Gold)

In one of the strangest examples of the Chinese menu approach United and Continental are taking to their new brand, the new company will keep using George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as its theme music. United first licensed Rhapsody in Blue in 1987 for $300,000 a year.

That’s quite a bit of money to spend on music. Yet United has invested even more in attaching Rhapsody in Blue to its brand. You hear it in commercials, on the plane, in airports; one company says it has created more than 50 different versions of the piece in genres ranging from jazz to rock to country. Rhapsody in Blue is as integral to United’s brand as its tulip logo designed by Saul Bass.

Which is funny, because of course that tulip logo is on the way out while Rhapsody in Blue remains.   Read more