RenoAir Sheds Its Skin

Winkler Building An Image From Ground Up
SAN FRANCISCO–Winkler Advertising will unveil a new tagline, “Change is in the air,” for RenoAir by early next year.
The change is part of an estimated $10 million branding campaign for the airline that the agency launched in mid-September.
For years, RenoAir used the line, “The biggest little airline in the world,” playing off Reno, Nev.’s motto, “The biggest little city in the world.” Winkler made the change to emphasize the airline’s current efforts to update and improve its fleet, service and overall image.
“RenoAir has had some obvious business and image problems,” said Kim Kline, account director at the San Francisco agency. “People were telling stories about duct-taped seats. But there’s [new management] at the airline who want us to show them how to send a consistent and positive message about RenoAir.”
The changes come in a year when the airline has spent nearly $800,000 on restructuring.
“At first they were scared to make radical changes [in their ads], but they wanted to try,” said Pat Marcoccia, creative director and agency partner. “It’s invigorating to have a client that really wants our help.”
Winkler began the branding campaign with teaser newspaper ads and radio spots, and some sports sponsorship advertising in select Western markets, where the airline primarily operates.
“Unfortunately, we inherited a pre-set media schedule when we picked up the business [in June], so we’ve had to devote a lot of time to filling those needs,” Kline said. “Now we’re ready to move forward with the real branding campaign.”
Some of the upcoming print ads tout RenoAir’s in-plane improvements. One execution shows three airline seats, with text that reads, “Introducing the 500 mph chairlift.” Another trumpets RenoAir’s status as “The #1 on-time airline in America,” and suggests, “As of late, we haven’t been.”
Kline said RenoAir is considering expanding into TV for 1999, and may increase its ad budget to $15 million in an effort to “increase the airline’s exposure with business travelers and gain their loyalty.” Future advertising will also emphasize RenoAir’s frequent flier program for awarding double miles on American Airlines, she said.