AMERICAN AIR PUTS $20 MIL INTO INT'L PUSH: FOLLOWING LEAD OF BA AND VIRGIN, U.S. CARRIER AIMS TO 'STRETCH IMAGE'

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In its first-ever multinational branding effort, American Airlines is breaking a $10 million to $15 million TV and print campaign aimed at U.S.-bound business travelers.

The campaign is a departure from past efforts outside the U.S., which tended to show "real foot-age of aircraft and employees," said Michael Gunn, senior VP-marketing at American Airlines.

EXECUTIVE ATOP EAGLE

The new ads, which won't run in the U.S., feature an executive riding atop a soaring eagle and such all-American icons as the Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge and World Trade Center.

"We want to make sure that we create a high level of identity in overseas markets so that people will understand that we're not just an American airline, but that we are American Airlines," Mr. Gunn said.

Focus group research in Latin America and Europe over the past two years showed American Airlines "had no image overseas," said Jim Ferguson, vice chairman and chief creative officer at DDB Needham Worldwide, Dallas, agency for the airline's non-U.S. advertising. Temerlin McClain, Irving, Texas, handles domestic ads.

"With British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways doing visible brand campaigns, we felt that we had to stretch our image and make people feel good about flying," Mr. Ferguson said. "American Airlines didn't want to show Americans beating their chests."

TV spots will run on CNN International, as well as in 14 markets in the U.K. and Latin America. Print ads will appear in international editions of such newsweeklies as The Economist, Newsweek and Time and in daily newspapers in each market.

Overall, the campaign will appear in 13 languages in 20 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, said Russell Ford, advertising manager at American.

Two-thirds of American Airlines' ad budget outside the U.S. will be directed toward the multinational brand campaign, with the remainder reserved for localized promotions touting the airline's recently improved seating and service for business class travelers.

"We have limited funds for any one country, so this new campaign gives us a more impactful way to use those campaign dollars," Mr. Gunn said. "Even though the cultures are very different for each of the countries we're in, we wanted advertising that would be portable from one market to the next."

In the past, creative executions have varied from country to country.

35% OF REVENUE FROM INT'L

About 35% of American Airlines' revenue stems from international fliers, a segment that is growing more rapidly than domestic flights, according to Mr. Gunn.

New markets have recently been added in Latin America, including direct flights from Dallas-Fort Worth to Santiago and Lima. American Airlines is the largest U.S. carrier in the U.K., according to Mr. Gunn, and the largest U.S. carrier to

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