Ads take off Friday for SkyTeam air alliance

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Delta Air Lines and Air France joined with AeroMexico and Korean Air to officially launch the global network called SkyTeam, promising to shift the focus of airline alliances to consumers from air carriers. The airlines unveiled a blue-and-white logo with the SkyTeam name wrapped around partial infinity signs, which officials said represents "endless pleasure.'' A TV and print campaign from Euro RSCG BETC, Paris, launches Friday on CNN and pan-regional networks and in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. Ads will run in local languages. SkyTeam's "Caring more about you'' tagline will always appear in English, however.

Tim Mapes, Delta's director of worldwide marketing communications, said ads for competing alliances are "very airline-centric'' and that SkyTeam seeks "more emotional context.''

"There's not a human-centered approach,'' he explained.

The introductory TV campaign will run for a week, while the print is scheduled to appear through July. A more benefit-focused print effort (one ad may highlight SkyTeam as the only alliance with Concorde service from Paris to New York) will follow in September. TV also is being considered for later this year, with a third phase for the campaign set for early 2001.

Both of the 15-second introductory TV spots feature people looking into mirrors but unable to see their reflections. "Airline alliances have something missing . . . you,'' voice-over says. "At SkyTeam, we offer you more privileges and a superior service, putting you back in the picture.''

SkyTeam will compete with the United Airlines/Lufthansa-led Star Alliance, the most extensive global network, and the OneWorld Alliance led by American Airlines and British Airways. The not-yet-official Wings Alliance led by Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines is still in a holding pattern.

"Star Alliance, one would reasonably say, is the alliance we need to catch,'' said Leo Mullin, Delta chairman-CEO.

SkyTeam eventually may add partners in South America and southern Asia, Mr. Mullin added. Jean-Cyril Spinetta, chairman-CEO of Air France, said Czech Airlines also has expressed an interest in joining.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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