Pilot Keeps Flight Plan

Pen Maker Continues ‘Troubled Plane’ Theme
BOSTON–The disaster blockbuster Airport launched several sequels, and last year’s TV campaign for Pilot Pen Corp. appears to be following a similar flight path.
A series of spots now airing across the country continue to feature humor, a “troubled” airliner and Pilot Pen chief executive Ronald Shaw as an unlikely high-altitude hero.
Created by KGA Advertising in Middletown, Conn., the ads open with a passenger asking for a “Pilot,” which causes people in nearby seats to panic. In the midst of the chaos, Shaw saves the day by offering his Pilot pen.
The campaign, which includes 15- and 30-second executions, promotes five different pen types: the Dr. Grip, G2, P700, Easy Touch and Precise.
The spots are appearing through year’s end on NBC late-night programs as well as cable networks USA, TNT and CNN. Allscope Media and Communications in New York handles media placement.
The ads are similar to last year’s Pilot campaign, which showed an aircraft flying through turbulence. The captain sends a stewardess to the cabin in search of assistance, and Shaw offers his own Pilot.
The strategy remains the same: capitalize on the word association between someone who flies a plane and the company’s name, said Susan Daniels, vice president of account services at KGA, which has worked for Pilot for the past two years.
The Trumbull, Conn., client spent about $1 million on ads in 1998, per Competitive Media Reporting.