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American Airlines Cargo

Agency: McKinney-Silver, Durham, N.C.

Precious cargo in the form of a blue-tinted rose with a delicate green stem stretching from Bogota to Tokyo is so arresting that it deserves a longer look. It's so subtle, so simple.

It's an ad for American Airlines Cargo that seems to fly in the face of what you'd expect to see in a shipping ad. David Baldwin, executive director for McKinney-Silver, said it's strictly by design. "The typical ad in this category would show a plane or happy people moving packages, and the text would be a battle of copy points," he said.

But the standard look would hardly break through the clutter in a magazine read by shippers. This ad does. It does so with a surprisingly different, almost sensual look and only 14 words of text: "Freshness. Delivered. Priority shipping like a life depends on it. Since, often, it does."

"We wanted strong visual communication because the ad would appear in some copy-heavy publications," said Jennifer Pemberton, manager of advertising for American Airlines. "And it delivered our key message that we have an express delivery product that is guaranteed."

Added Baldwin, "What it says is that American is not just shipping packages but precious cargo that is important to you."

The ad makes an emotional connection with its audience, Baldwin said. "The mistake that most companies make in business-to-business advertising is that they forget human beings are involved," he said. "But the rational benefits should be presented in an emotional context. Otherwise, the ad is ignorable." M

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