MIAMI —Last Sunday night on NFL football, American Airlines (AA) has unveiled its first major brand campaign since the integration of legacy AA and U.S. Airways.
“The World’s Greatest Flyers Fly American” is the name of the campaign created by AA’s new agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B). The pitch is focused not only in encouraging customers to travel with proper etiquette, but is also intended to reshape AA’s social media image, a place where customers usually complain when their travels are below their expectations.
“The demographic of the type of customers we have is changing,” said Fernand Fernandez, VP-global marketing at American Airlines. “The pervasive use of social tools, for example, digital and video — these are things that are becoming more important for us to connect to and for us to start a dialogue with our customers.”
In a recent visit to American Airlines’ Social Media hub, Beth Moreland, Manager of Social Media Insights at American Airlines, explained that in 2015, the airline received 5.6 million public mentions in its social media channels, and created about 33 billion potential social impressions.
American will encourage its customers to use the hashtag #GreatestFlyers when they have a hassle free experience, or if the service received onboard goes beyond the expected, for example.
“The bigger goal here is to create, celebrate and acknowledge these types of behaviors and hopefully, amplify them on social media,” Fernandez said.
A 60-second video shows views from places like Sydney, Auckland and Hong Kong, —all new destinations the airline travels to— accompanied with captions referring to American flyers such as, “They walk faster in airports than anywhere else,” and, “They like babies, but bring noise-cancellation headphones.”
That same language is also incorporated into print ads, which will run in several national newspapers. The videos will air on national television, including during the NFL opener between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers on September 8.
Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst for Atmosphere Research and a former advertising executive for major U.S. carriers, called American’s new campaign an empty retread of American’s “doing what we do best” and “something special in the air” campaigns.
“It’s empty because when American ran those two other campaigns, they had strategies to deliver on those promises. This makes no commitment.”
“For the past few years, American has talked about “going for great,” yet they haven’t backed that claim up with any meaningful commitments to excellence. It’s too bad the airline’s leadership didn’t truly embrace that, and use this campaign to showcase how they intend for American to once again lead the industry. Instead, they put a fresh coat of paint on a tired house, and are hoping they can pass the place off as a newly constructed home.” Harteveldt said.