Friday, January 18, 2013

Flying blind

Now that they've emerged from bankruptcy, American Airlines have launched an extensive rebranding effort as you would expect.

Yes, they have a very nice new logo.

Of course, FutureBrand also did an excellent job designing their planes.

And the launch commercial from McCann is nicely conceived and beautifully crafted.

Speaking about the campaign, Darryl Lee, Global Chief Strategy director at McCann is quoted in Ad Age as saying, "The idea of it was to bring back the wonder of air travel." Here's the problem with that; the advertising doesn't create wonder, the experience does.

Unless American has changed what's at the heart of their brand – their service and the overall experience – all this work is just window dressing.

Does this mean they shouldn't have created a new logo and ad campaign? No. It's a lovely campaign and if their flights match peoples' schedules and aren't significantly more expensive than other options, I'm sure it will sell a few tickets.

If, however, they haven't changed any of the important things about flying – the terminals, the ticketing, the meals, the legroom, etc. – they shouldn't expect either the perceptions of their brand or the fortunes of their business to change in any meaningful way.

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