TWA Saluting Business ‘Aviators’

With A Historical Tone, DMB&B Spots Burnish Airline’s Personality
CHICAGO–Fall advertising for Trans World Airlines takes an aspirational tack, likening today’s frequent business fliers to aviators of yore.
Two TV spots from D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis, break this week. The spots use a voiceover to suggest that, like the pioneers of flight, today’s frequent fliers have a “resourceful determination to get the job done.” The spots contain sepia-toned footage of pilots, in goggles and leather jackets, sitting in their 1920s aircraft, cutting to shots of modern-day travelers.
The spots break this week on national cable stations, with an emphasis on morning and drive-time news programming and sports, said Glenn Sundin, vice president and account director at DMB&B. The campaign also has a national network radio component.
The goal, said Donald Casey, executive vice president of marketing for the St. Louis-based airline, is to portray the business traveler as master of his own fate, not a victim of the exhaustion and frustrations of winged travel. The campaign also attempts to brand TWA with a distinct personality.
“All these [other airlines] are big and they are good, but they have lost any personality,” Casey said.
A print ad in the campaign shows relics of a bygone era, such as a leather helmet and goggles, alongside the trappings of the modern flier, including wire-rimmed glasses, a passport and a cell phone. “A cup of coffee at dawn,” copy reads. “A full day in the air. A mission accomplished.”
“[Business travelers] think they’re pretty smart. They know how to get around, how to use the rules; they know they’re special,” said Lisbeth L. Mack, TWA’s vice president of marketing and services. The campaign’s tagline remains, “We want to be your airline.”
All of the ads promote TWA’s frequent flier program, known as “Aviators,” and its first-class service, Trans World First. TWA spent almost $32 million on advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.