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ADAGES;THESE SAFETY ADS JUST DIDN'T FLY

By Published on .

Upstart Kiwi International Airlines is running safety-themed ads. It turns out globe-trotting Air New Zealand nearly did the same. The airline's U.S. managers approved a campaign from L.A. shop Mendelsohn/Zien in 1990 with the tagline, "Probably the safest airline in the world." One ad read: "Think of us as a Volvo with wings." Airline execs were nervous, says agency prez Richard Zien. "The burning question was, `What if we run this campaign and have a crash?'*" But the agency sold the work by showing a) the carrier was fanatical about safety, b) consumers would flock to a safety-oriented airline and c) Air New Zealand could survive a devastating crash if it had a sustained safety message. At the 11th hour, nervous managers in New Zealand killed the campaign. Soon after, carrier and agency hastily divorced, citing irreconcilable differences.

Microsoft puts on the moves

Microsoft this summer shifted creative on mainstay business products, such as Office, to Wieden & Kennedy from Anderson & Lembke. Now it's likely that computer magazine media buying will move to Wieden within "a few months," says a Microsoft insider. A&L, a tech agency, still does advertising for Microsoft consumer products, which would seem a good fit for a consumer shop like Wieden. Will the consumer stuff go to Wieden? "Too early to tell," our adviser says. There is room for others: Microsoft is seeking an ad agency plugged into Hollywood to do an ad and promotion project tied to a splashy late November launch event for computer games (see Adages, Aug. 5).

What did he

say again?

In a Visa spot during the Olympics, Deion Sanders tried to pay by check only to get harassed. A narrator intoned: "Checks-what a hassle." Brooklynite Paul Morrissey thought he heard "what an ***hole." So Morrissey, director of the Morality Action Committee, called BBDO. Because of such complaints, agency insiders say the voice-over will be re-recorded.

Sole searching

With a "Mud sucks" banner at their fashion show, one wonders if Timberland prez Sidney W. Swartz and son/exec VP Jeffrey feel the same way about some of their shoes and clothes. Jeffrey, gesturing toward a model wearing long black shorts and a colorful parka with sandals, was overheard telling Dad, "This I don't get at all."

Geffen bio... Benched

Writer Tom King is taking a leave from The Wall Street Journal to write the David Geffen bio .... Porte Adv. in NY bought a couple of $29 plaques for chairs in Manhattan's Bryant Park to support the park's restoration. "Your ad goes here" says one plaque. "Someday, an out-of-work creative will sit down in the park, spot the plaque and get so excited, well, I'm not certain what he might do," says creative director Jay Heyman. "Call me for a job? Steal the plaque and enter it in the One Show?"

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Fred Danzig, Carol Krol and Chuck Ross.

Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (213) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (213) 655-8157; or email, brad@crain.com.

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