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Denny's Daily Zinger: Invidious Advertising by a Very Inept Agency

March 31, 2014 By Denny Hatch
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"American Airlines Focuses on the Glory Days of Flying": This was the headline of Jane R. Levere's story in The New York Times about the deeply flawed campaign for first class travel on American Airlines cooked up by McCann Erickson.

The first page of one of the two-page spreads features a photo of [Grace] Kelly, clutching her tickets and wearing a hat, gloves and pearl jewelry; the caption here says, "In 1953 we invented transcontinental service." On the facing page is a photo of Ms. [Julianna] Margulies, with a caption that begins, "Today, we reinvent it," and continues, "Enjoy refinement and exclusivity more often found on private jets, both on the ground and aboard the only true first class from coast to coast. Only on American. The legend is back." —Jane R. Levere

[Check out the first image in the media player at right to see terrible advertising.]

Bad Idea
I flew in the glory days—including on American Airlines a lot.

Okay, I did not fly first class back then. But as Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography, "I know it when I see it."

Comparing those palmy days to the sad-sack 2014 rat race is invidious and stupid. For example:

Bad Ads
Here is an agency and client smoking something and fanticizing rather than talking to the traveling public. [Check out the second image in the media player to see what I'm talking about.]

Denny Hatch is a copywriter, designer and direct marketing consultant. You are invited to click on the title below and read the first 3 chapters of Denny's new book: "Write Everything Right!" (Opens as a PDF) No cost. No risk. No obligation. Contact him at



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