American Airlines Wants You To Fly Right

'World's Greatest Flyers' Push Also Aims To Reshape Social Media Conversation

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American Airlines wants travelers to know "The world's greatest flyers fly American."

That's the pitch the carrier is making in its newest campaign, which debuted Sunday night on NFL football. The airline wants to encourage its customers to travel with proper etiquette when flying -- to be ready to go through security checkpoints or prepare for the event of crying babies, for example -- and its creative agency CP&B delivers that message tactfully in the spots.

But the broader goal of American's push might be to reshape its image on social media, the place where many irked customers call out airlines when their travels are less than optimal.

"The demographic of the type of customers we have is changing," said Fernand Fernandez, VP-global marketing at American Airlines. "The pervasive use of social tools, for example, digital and video -- these are things that are becoming more important for us to connect to and for us to start a dialogue with our customers."

Last year, American Airlines saw 33 billion impressions on social media, according to trade publication Airways News, which spent a day at the company's 30-person social media control center.

The airline will encourage its customers to use the hashtag #GreatestFlyers when they have a hassle free experience at security or if a flight attendant goes above and beyond to deliver great service, for example.

"The bigger goal here is to create, celebrate and acknowledge these types of behaviors and hopefully, amplify them on social media," Mr. Fernandez said.

In a 60-second spot, breathtaking shots from places like Sydney, Auckland and Hong Kong -- all new destinations the airline travels to -- are shown with captions referring to American flyers such as, "They walk faster in airports than anywhere else," and, "They like babies, but bring noise-cancellation headphones."

A 90-second video shows a pair of massive hangar doors opening, with a narrator saying, "We have a history of changing flying. We pioneered the airport lounge. The loyalty program and the transcontinental jet flight. But now all of this has become table stakes, so instead of focusing on getting to A to B, we're going to focus on what it means to change flying again."

Mr. Fernandez said that the narrative "The World's Greatest Flyers Fly American" is an evolution of the airline's last tagline, "Going for Great."

Mr. Fernandez said the carrier will also use print to help start the conversation on how to be a better flyer started on social media.

"People view themselves as the world's greatest flyers whether they fly once a year and are really savvy at looking and getting the best fare, or if they're people who fly with us every day and are great at packing and getting through security," he said.

Worldwide ad spending for the carrier in 2015 was $110 million, according to the company's 10-K report.

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