American Ads Salute the Troops | Adweek
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American Ads Salute the Troops

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Marketers usually treat Memorial Day as an excuse to tout new sales, but American Airlines is taking a different approach this year with TV spots aimed at promoting its support of the troops.

Two TV spots breaking this weekend via TM Advertising salute men and women in the armed forces. “Thank you” features a traveling soldier who is unfailingly polite to everyone. When a fellow passenger offers him his window seat, the soldier replies, “I’m fine, but thank you, sir.” As the soldier exits the plane, he begins to say thank you to the pilot, who interjects to say, “No...thank you.”

“Putting them first” follows a young Marine who is given preboarding on a flight. As she makes her way through the gate, fellow passengers step aside, smiling and acknowledging her. She then makes eye contact with an elderly veteran who salutes her. Voiceover: “To those who put our country first, we’re honored to do the same for you.”

Roger Frizzell, American’s vp-corporate communications and advertising, said the ad support was driven by the airline’s Veterans Initiatives, which was launched two years ago. Though American also supports the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, among other charities, the military is an especially dear cause since about 60 percent of the company’s pilots come from the armed forces.

“We had discussed it for several years,” Frizzell said of a Memorial Day campaign, “but the Veterans Initiatives is fairly new.” The ads include a call to action to support the Veterans Initiatives, aa.com/JoinUs, which gives consumers information about how to contribute. The airline’s outreach supports several efforts aimed at supporting families of fallen soldiers, such as Snowball Express, which provides networking opportunities for such families.