United drops elegant advertising for functional campaign
By Lewis Lazare Media & Marketing Columnist March 1, 2011 1:54PM
New United Airlines print ads
Updated: May 10, 2011 7:48PM
A golden age in the annals of airline advertising officially ended Tuesday when the merged United Airlines unveiled its first ad campaign from the Kaplan Thaler/New York ad agency, best known for creating the iconic Aflac duck.
Chicago-based United’s new campaign, the first to reflect last fall’s joining of United with Continental Airlines, does away with the elegant, illustration-centric print ads and television commercials that for the past four years were a hallmark of the United advertising created by the Minneapolis boutique shop Barrie D’Rozario Murphy.
United’s ads from BDM helped elevate the carrier’s image even as the airline was struggling to right itself after a difficult bankruptcy. Barrie D’Rozario Murphy will continue to work on marketing projects for the new United, but it will not be the lead ad agency.
The United advertising just now breaking incorporates imagery associated with previous Continental campaigns, which have been handled for many years by Kaplan Thaler. It is certainly a functional campaign, if not hugely creative.
The first series of print ads breaking later this month focus — with a bit of humor — on specific product benefits of the combined carriers, including an expanded route system, a roomier Economy Plus seating section and the DirecTV available on select Continental aircraft.