American Airlines Stretches Out

Temerlin McClain Makes ‘More Room’ for International Markets
DALLAS–American Airlines has launched a multimillion dollar campaign this month billed as “one of the most aggressive in [the company’s] history” in a move to preempt an upstart competitor.
The “More room” advertising campaign touts the airline’s Feb. 3 decision to remove two rows of seats from each of its aircraft (a fleet-wide total of 7,200 units) to give cramped passengers more legroom.
In one television spot produced by Temerlin McClain of Irving, Texas, ground crew workers unloading a plane are startled as they see seats instead of baggage coming down the cargo conveyor belt. Other ads show seats abandoned on the tarmac or being tossed gleefully out of an airplane cabin.
The budget for the international campaign, which has been launched in American Airline’s markets in Europe and Japan as well as in the U.S., was not disclosed. TV commercials are appearing on national cable outlets, and full-page newspaper ads are running in major newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. The “More room” theme has also been extended to brochures and point-of-sale materials ranging from timetables to bumper stickers.
The motivation for the new advertising campaign, said American representative Al Becker, “is that clearly the traveling public has become unhappy with airline service overall, plus other things going on in the market.”
One of those “other things” is the appearance of Legend Airlines in Dallas. Although the nascent
carrier has yet to fly a single scheduled flight, its advertised strategy of providing four feet of legroom
for each passenger in its reconfigured jets has clearly made competitors nervous.
Fort Worth, Texas-based American realized that “customer unhappiness has reached the point that they believe the airlines don’t care about them,” said Becker. “And the single largest complaint that we get is lack of room in the coach cabin.”
Dennis McClain, agency chief executive officer and executive creative director, said focus groups held jointly by the shop and client liked seeing the seats physically being thrown from the plane.
“It gave the proposition a lot of credibility to show that you are willing to forego income potential in order to provide more comfort for your passenger,” McClain said.