American Knows Why You Fly. That’s Comforting.

I like to see Lewis Lazare upset by a weak ad campaign. Seriously, it’s a fun way to start the day.

Much as it pains us to say so, American Airlines is sticking with the mantra “We Know Why You Fly” that the carrier introduced a year ago in an ad campaign from TM Advertising in Irving, Texas. In a hugely disappointing new television, print and Internet ad campaign breaking today, American purports to build on the brand thesis that the world’s largest carrier has a superior understanding of what prompts people to get on airplanes and travel somewhere.
We were taken aback last year when the first wave of “We Know Why You Fly” executions broke. Aside from their lame stabs at humor, the commercials did little to burnish American’s image as a carrier peopled by experienced professionals adept at transporting both high-powered executives and leisure travelers looking for a little rest and relaxation.
Two new commercials debuting this week do not improve on what came before. They try to impress upon viewers that American intends to be price competitive with other legacy carriers like archrival United Airlines (which, at least, is on a marketing roll with its superlative advertising) and the increasingly powerful low-fare carriers such as Southwest and Jet Blue. But you won’t find any reference to spacious coach seating in this new “We Know Why You Fly” work, because that’s no longer a selling point at American, which has added seats in the back to increase revenue-generating potential.

On a related note, why would an agency walk away from all the equity they’ve built in the name “Temerlin McClain,” in favor of the flavorless TM Advertising? It makes no sense.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.