TWA's latest effort keeps focus on new planes

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Trans World Airlines continues to focus marketing efforts on new planes in a campaign that breaks today.

The airline, which spent the first part of last year hammering home a message that it would add one new plane every 10 days in 1999, trumpets its commitment to purchase 50 new Boeing 717s in the estimated $2 million TV, print and radio effort.

"Last year, one airline brought you one new plane every 10 days and if you're waiting to see what we do for an encore, you won't be waiting long," the 30-second TV spot says.

The 30- and 15-second spots include shots of runways, hangers and control towers.


"It gives the feel that TWA is very contemporary," said Lynne Brinker, senior VP-group account director at TWA agency D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis.

Noticeably absent, however, are images of the actual 717s. The planes weren't ready before filming. They joined the fleet just last week.

TWA officials believe ad campaigns focused on new planes resonate with its target business travelers as the airline attempts to give itself a modernized image.

The phrase "one new plane every 10 days" had widespread appeal last year, according to Stephen Schlachter, the airline's managing director of marketing programs.

"We're confident that missionaries in deepest Africa know TWA got one new plane every 10 days last year," he said, tongue in cheek.

New products of all types appeal to road warriors, Mr. Schlachter added.

"They're carrying the latest computers, cell phones, gizmos and doodads," Mr. Schlachter said. "That's what today's business traveler wants -- new, state-of-the-art."

Last year, TWA added 38 MD-80, 757 and 767 model planes to its fleet, all models which can accommodate more passengers than the 717. However, the 717 has larger overhead bins, according to a TWA spokesman.


TWA expects to add 50 717s over the next several years, including 15 this year. Overall, the airline's fleet renewal program could bring in 125 new aircraft by 2007. And Mr. Schlachter said TWA could have the youngest fleet in the industry by 2006.

The latest campaign will run on national cable and spot TV. It will also include newspaper and radio.

The campaign will run along with an estimated $8 million to $10 million effort TWA launched last month for its new promotion called "First Up," where people who purchase a full-price coach ticket can get an automatic upgrade to first class.

Both campaigns feature Jack Perkins, the voice of A&E's "Biography," as the narrator.

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