Mekanism Debuts First Work for Alaska Airlines Following Virgin America Merger

By Erik Oster 

Back in February, Mekanism won creative duties on Alaska Airlines away from fellow independent agency Wongdoody and subsequently opened a Seattle office to service the client. Then in April, parent company Alaska Air Group announced it would acquire Virgin America and the deal was just recently made official, resulting in the country’s fifth largest airline.

As it turns out, the merger is the subject of Mekanism’s first work for the brand: the 60 second “Different Works.”

The anthem ad opens with the text “This is different,” over footage of a woman riding a horse pulling a water skier. (Okay, that is different.) Mekanism continues the approach with unusual footage, as it explains what “different” is exactly, or, more accurately, what different does. Among the explanations: “Different attracts,” creates, innovates, elevates and surprises. It’s all set to an unfortunate remix of Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock‘s “It Takes Two,” with obvious implications. The spot concludes with the lines “Different Works” and “Two different airlines. One goal.”

While the anthem ad approach here is nothing new, it does mark a stark departure from the brand’s previous advertising from Wongdoody, which revolved around appearances by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.


Supporting print, OOH and digital efforts play off the idea of unlikely, but synergistic combinations, like electricity and guitars, and labradors and poodles, as well as a social media campaign.

“What we really wanted to do was lean in and acknowledge the truth,” Mekanism executive vice president, managing director Mike Zlatoper told Adweek. “On the surface these airlines are different but underneath there are a lot of similarities. Some of the best stories are about two different things coming together, whether it’s a romantic comedy or Romeo and Juliet. Opposites come together with a common goal.”
Agency: Mekanism
Client: Alaska Airlines
President/CEO: Jason Harris
Executive Creative Director: Tommy Means
EVP, Head of Creative/Design: Tom Lyons
Creative Directors: Matt Stafford & Hart Rusen
Art Directors: Patrick Nelson & Sean Hamilton
Writer: Boomer Cruz

EVP, Managing Director: Michael Zlatoper
Director of Brand Management: Anna Boyarsky
Brand Director: Caroline Paik
Brand Manager: Mellie Lutz

Head of Planning, West: Jeremy Daly
Communications Strategy Director: John-James Richardson

Head of Production: Kati Haberstock
Director of Print Production/Art Buying: Frank Lewis
Producer: Megan Ubovich
Print Producer: James Sablan
Senior Production Artist: Jose Paz
Print Project Manager: Mariah Gill-Erhart

Stock Footage House: STALKR
Stock Producer: George Alvarez
Stock Executive Producer: Carly Lagoda

Music Producer: Janet Billig Rich

Editorial: Nomad
Editor: Jared Coller
Assistant Editors: Collin Ketterer, Dani Weltman
Post Producer: Gabrielle Page
Post Executive Producer: Susye Melega

Sound Engineer: Nomad Editing Co. / Tom Stamatio
Motion Graphics: Nomad VFX / Josh Kirschenbaum
Color: CO3 / Dave Hussey

Print House: XYZ Prepress House