McCann Gave Peru’s Poorest Children a Chance to Fly in This Adorable Airline Ad

Mariela sings in the clouds

A girl who dreams of singing in the clouds gets to do just that, on her very first airplane flight, in this Peruvian campaign from South American airline LAN and McCann Lima. 

The company runs a corporate social responsibility program that gives economically disadvantaged children from remote parts of Peru free trips to Lima, the country's capital. Over five years, the campaign—titled "Kids That Dream, Kids That Fly"—has helped around 350 of the country's poorest kids to experience air travel for the first time. 

The latest video, titled "Mariela's Dream" in English, captures the program's spirit with a storybook arc and gorgeous camerawork. The titular star lives in Cusibamba, Cusco, a mountain village in the Andes.

While airborne, the pilot gives her a special invitation—to sing as the clouds roll by her window. The moment becomes a galvanizing singalong with other kids, and everyone lives happily ever after.

It's corny, but LAN gets a pass because this is about kids (even if it isn't aimed at them). And it's hard to fault the mission statement: Helping "more kids like Mariela to know there is nothing unreachable when you let your imagination fly." 

Stunning landscapes and cute children are something of a formula for aviation advertisers. In 2012, McCann Oslo conceived Norwegian airline Widerøe's brilliant magic trick spot. And last year, Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam picked up a Silver Lion at Cannes for helping Russian airline S7 realize kids' wildest imaginings—even if that execution was less literal than LAN's. 

The focus on imagination and children probably has something to do with airlines wanting to bring a sense of wonder back to the flying experience, which is more often disillusioning than dream-worthy: Flyers are crammed into tin cans like sardines, while amenities are stripped away, leaving people with little more than a backache and a tiny bag of peanuts (for which they should be grateful).

A cynic might suggest the marketer is just trying to get its hooks into a new, still impressionable market—so that if and when these kids fly again, they'll fly LAN. And speaking of which, the airline should also consider supporting education so the kids can get out of poverty and make sure their airline ride isn't a once-in-a-lifetime thrill.