ExpressJet “Accordion”

For people who travel by air these days, getting there is almost none of the fun. That’s why commercials that depict airline flights as luxurious or fun or even merely not unpleasant will strike viewers as delusional. This spot for ExpressJet Airlines (via Dentsu America, New York) takes a more plausible approach and makes the most of it. It shows people enjoying their free time in various ways — a man flying his model airplane (much more fun now than the real kind), a woman turning foliage into topiary, a muscular guy tinkering with his muscle car, a man standing barefoot on a beach and playing the accordion, etc. What does any of this have to do with airline travel? As the voiceover says, everyone enjoys free time. “That’s why at ExpressJet Airlines we measure travel satisfaction in the time we save you. Because we know there are things you’d rather be doing than flying.” Exactly! Potential customers will appreciate that ExpressJet at least intends to be respectful of their time, instead of ludicrously pretending that their hours aloft (let alone at the airport or on board a plane as it’s eleventh in line for takeoff) are a font of joy. It’s an especially savvy approach for ExpressJet, a regional carrier offering nonstop flights on routes that more often entail connecting flights. At the same time, there’s a refreshing humility to the spot, and few industries have more cause to be humble right now. –Mark Dolliver