Welcome ladies and gentleman to the ‘Advert Zone’ of your Confessions of a Trolley Dolly Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system.
Advertising is an important part of any global airlines campaign to attract passengers and over the years there has been some iconic TV ads by some of the worlds leading carriers. Who could forget the wonderful ‘Caledonian Girls’ from British Caledonian in the 1980’s, or more recently the fabulous ‘Flying in the face of ordinary’ by Virgin Atlantic. Many use TV advertising to introduce the world to their new state-of-the-art aircraft or onboard services, while others use humour to lure passengers to fly with their airline.
Here you can enjoy some of the best and worst ads from years gone by.
The cabin crew will shortly be passing through the cabin with a complimentary pair of tangled headphones for your convenience.
Please now sit back, relax and enjoy the movies.
In the early 1960’s BOAC introduced the world to its brand new VC-10 aircraft. Built by Vickers-Armstrong LTD, the jet was a very popular with both crew and passengers and was the height of luxury during the iconic jet-set era. Indeed, many passengers chose to fly this type over its contemporaries such as the Boeing 707 or 747. Sadly the aircraft was a commercial failure and only 54 were ever built. The performance of the VC-10 was such that it achieved the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a jet airliner (London to New York), a record still held to date for a sub-sonic airliner of 5 hours and 1 minute. Only Concorde has ever been faster.
In 2012 Virgin Atlantic launched ‘Flying in the face of ordinary’. The multimillion pound advertising campaign celebrates the skills and talents of Virgin Atlantic staff. The advert plots the journey of children with extraordinary powers, growing up to become Virgin Atlantic employees. One child is obsessed by flight, and he is seen going on to become a pilot. Another child is shown with incredible intuition, and eventually becomes a glamorous cabin crew member.
When Trans World Airlines (TWA) introduced the L1011 (Tristar) into service in the early 1970’s it was heralded as one of the most advanced aircraft in the world. TWA marketed a ‘Great Cities’ theme onboard their new jets, with their ‘Ambassador Service’. Individual aircraft in the fleet had interiors that represented various cities on their route system. During the 1980’s the airline carried over 50% of all trans-Atlantic passengers on their fleet of 747’s, 767’s and of course the magnificent L1011.
Indian Airlines commenced operations in 1953 and was one of the two flag carriers of India. In 2011 they merged with Air India and its name consigned to the history books. This rather sweet advert shows a young girl guiding another passenger on how to behave onboard. Later it is revealed that the man is actually a Captain for the airline, as the young girl falls asleep on his shoulder. ‘Let your heart fly’
This hilarious ad from US carrier Southern Airways, first aired in the 1970’s at the height of the airlines success. It shows a passenger boarding and being led into the drab and miserable ‘second cabin’, while those in first sip champagne and enjoy the party atmosphere. On Southern jets however, no one is treated as ‘second class’ with each and every passenger receiving exceptional first class service. ‘Nobody’s second class on Southerm’.
British Airways is one of the world’s leading airlines and over the years, its adverts have been just as world leading. In 2013 the airline launched its ‘To Fly. To Serve. Today. Tomorrow’ campaign. The TV ad follows a customer journey using a ‘micro to macro’ style of filming, the footage shows close up shots of the intimate details of flying, panning to wide shots of aircraft in motion. It draws contrast between them both, showing the care and thought that goes in to every part of their journey. The end frame poignantly shows the BA logo being stitched into fabric, with the voiceover commenting ‘To Fly. To Serve. Today. Tomorrow’.
In 2010 Virgin Atlantic celebrated 25 years in the industry. Led by the flamboyant Richard Branson, over the years the airline has broken the boundaries and brought back some much-needed glamour to the world of flying. Celebrating this milestone was the ad campaign ‘Your airlines either got it or it hasn’t’. I think you’ll agree that Virgin Atlantic most definitely has it.
American Airlines introduced the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 into its fleet on August 5, 1971 on a round trip flight between Chicago and Los Angeles. It was the second wide-bodied jet to be built after the Boeing 747 and American had specifically asked for a jet smaller than the 747 but capable of flying the same range from airports with shorter runways. The aircraft went on to fly with many airlines and was finally retired from commercial service in 2014, after the last flight by Biman Bangladesh Airlines. Here, passengers are taken on a tour around AA’s new jet, complete with a lounge in coach ‘You get the best of everything’.
In 2000 Trans World Airlines celebrated its 75th Anniversary. Sadly later that year the iconic and once world leading airline would be swallowed up by American Airlines. Here Mona Desmond, Manager of Advertising, takes a look at the airlines campaigns over the years.
Virgin have always loved to push boundaries and this gay themed advert to show off their fabulous ‘Upper Class Suite’ was no exception, when it aired across South Africa in 2004.
In the early 1980’s British Caledonian launched their ‘We never forget you have a choice’ campaign with a superb take on the Beach Boys classic track ‘Wish They All Could Be Caledonian Girls’. At the time BCal was one of the most popular airlines in the world. With their proud Scottish image, tartan-clad cabin crew and lion rampant on its tailplane, passengers loved the airline. Sadly the once iconic carrier was swallowed up by its rival British Airways in 1988 and the name was consigned to the history books, after surviving for a few years as BA’s charter arm.
If you want to watch the full IFE Advert Zone Playlist, simply click on the link below.
Thanks for watching and if you would like to see any iconic airline adverts included in the playlist then please add them in the comments section below.
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