American Airlines Tugs at Latino Emotions

DALLAS When American Airlines launched its first brand-image campaign in more than a decade, it took a slightly different approach in the Hispanic TV work created by Zubi Advertising Services than it did in the English versions.

In four English-language spots from Interpublic Group’s TM Advertising, Irving, Texas, American uses humor to illustrate the tagline, “We know why you fly.” In the Spanish-language spot created by independent Zubi, Coral Gables, Fla., the mood is much more poignant and nostalgic.

Shot on location in Mexico, the Zubi spot features vignettes of families, friends and lovers in Latin American settings. In a final scene, an elderly man in the airport reaches out and symbolically “captures” the family members he is leaving. The scenes are designed to show that American employees “know why you fly.”

“The final creative product of this campaign is extremely effective in demonstrating the intense emotion of traveling back home for Hispanics,” said Hector Prado, associate creative director at Zubi.

The goals of the carrier’s 18-month campaign are to increase travel frequency among Hispanic leisure and business travelers, continue to “warm” the American brand, increase consideration of the airline’s product offers and battle current price perception, the agency said.

Cristina Castro, international advertising manager of the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier, said the Hispanic spot will target travelers on American’s Latin American route system.

“True knowledge and understanding of the target audience is what one looks for in an advertising firm, and with Zubi we have found a partner that does just that,” Castro said.

American is expected to spend about $60 million on the English- and Spanish-language campaign, which will include print, online and electronic media, sources said. The effort broke Sept. 13, three years and two days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 that took down two American Airlines jets.

The Hispanic TV spot is running on Univision, and will appear on Telemundo in 2005, the agency said. Print ads are running in major daily newspapers in New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington and Boston, as well as in national magazines such as People en Espanol and Travel & Leisure en Espanol. Radio spots will air on top-rated Spanish-language stations in the same major markets, the agency said.

Zubi is one of the largest full-service Hispanic agencies in the U.S. With additional offices in Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Antonio, Zubi claimed billings of $147 million in 2003.