FutureBrand executives declined to comment for this story, and
American did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
American has had more slogans in its 80-year history than most
companies. Here's a selection of some of the most popular ones.
- "Be Yourself. Nonstop." (current)
- "We Know Why You Fly."
- "We are an airline that is proud to bear the name
- "Something Special in the Air."
- "The On-Time Machine."
- "Fly the American Way."
For the time being, there is likely to be little new activity
for any of American's agencies except for public relations agency
of record Weber Shandwick, which could get involved in crisis
management and reassuring the customer base that their flights and
frequent-flier miles are safe. Based on comments on American's
Facebook page -- where it has posted information about the Chapter
11 announcement, including a video message from Tom Horton,
chairman, president and CEO of AMR Corp. -- consumers are concerned
about how the bankruptcy will affect their frequent-flier accounts.
(American was emailing customers after the announcement Tuesday,
stressing that their miles will remain intact).
One chief concern for agencies: making sure that they are paid
on time and not left on the hook for fees.
This is more unwelcome news for American's creative agency,
Interpublic Group's McCann, coming on top of the loss of Exxon and
Applebee's and while the shop is defending other accounts,
including Avis Budget and Lufthansa. McCann recently launched a
humorous ad campaign out of London for American featuring actor
Kevin Spacey as a spokesman.
In the U.S. Hispanic market, American has worked for many years
with Miami-based Zubi Advertising, a leading independent Hispanic
shop. The agency's latest effort for the carrier is Aprendi.com, a
Spanish-language site launched in September. Further efforts aren't
scheduled until after the holidays, when consumers will be invited
to share their holiday travel experiences. The airline also works
with Publicis Groupe -backed Burrell for African-American
If the trip through bankruptcy court is similar to that of
allowing the carrier to shed costs and debt, American could emerge
ready for its rebrand. That would probably help it catch up to its
competitors. American has been struggling to compete with two
behemoths, Delta-Northwest and United-Continental. Their agencies
-- Wieden & Kennedy and McGarryBowen,
respectively -- have been working on repositioning the airlines'
It has been a tough decade for American, which lost two aircraft
on Sept. 11. It has since been battered by the recession, and has
imposed extra fees and furloughed staff. To increase the number or
routes available to customers, the carrier has tried to strike
partnerships with various players, including JetBlue domestically
and Quantas abroad.
Contributing: Alexandra Bruell