Brand: American Airlines
Execution: Online, Print and TV
Link: Click Here then click â€œDo Cool Stuffâ€ and â€œSee Adsâ€ to get to the ads
Target: Flying Masses
Reviewer: Eva Lind-Mallo
Reviewer Profile: Eva runs the family wine business (including a grand cru from France, lucky her). She is a former Marketing Director at L’Oreal. Click Here for more info on Eva.
American Airlines started this campaign last fall in Online, Print, and TV replacing the tagline “Something special in the air” for “We know why you fly.” I am not so sure they do. Why are consumers continuing to favor Jet Blue, Frontier and Song?
American needed to do something â€“this is AAâ€™s first major re-branding effort since 1984, and a lot has changed since then. The reality is that airlines are a commodity product today. Price and schedule typically come first, and then there are the variables of frequent flyer programs, destinations served, in-flight comfort and reliability.
Something Sentimental in the Air: Iâ€™ll admit, at the beginning of the campaign, even a few of the spots got me thinking that they were trying to â€œhumanizeâ€ the experience of flying. If American only had decided to maintain their service – pillows, blankets, food, more room through coach, it could have had the makings of a nice package.
With the airline industry in chaos, American had an opportunity to make their brand stand out in the marketplace and to strengthen its relationship with customers. American had done some of that with the â€œMore Room Through Coachâ€, making it a favorite among many coach flyers. However, they have since removed the extra space over the last year and are now back to LRTC (less room through coach), allowing competitor United to have the last laugh on that front – one of United Airlines new ads says, “Fly American and you could kick yourself. Literally.” Additionally, AA has stripped its brushed aluminum birds of pillows, food, even milk in coach (non-dairy powdered creamer is still available), as well as instituted reservation fees, even for elite customers.
Branding Bottom Line:
Who cares if you know why I fly? It is to get from point A to point B, folks. I only care if my plane leaves on time, has enough legroom that I donâ€™t need a shoehorn to wedge myself in, is not on the EPAâ€™s list of hazardous waste sites (clean would be nice) and doesn’t crash en route (point B in one piece is the endgoal).
Americanâ€™s attempt at the â€œfeel-goodâ€ aspect falls flat with the product delivery. It is unable to create a compelling reason to select American over any other legacy airline and is certainly not tipping the scales for anyone I know comparison shopping.