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Despite last week's Trans World Airlines tragedy, Delta Air Lines and Kiwi International Airlines are forging ahead with $25 million in new ad campaigns.

Most major air carriers pull advertising as part of a common industry clause in media contracts should accidents such as last week's TWA explosion occur. Ad holding periods vary on a case-by-case basis at each airline.

But unable to adjust its media schedule tied to the start of the Olympics, Delta went ahead as planned July 19 with a 17-day, $20 million blitz tied to Games (AA, July 1), via BBDO South, Atlanta.

"It was a difficult decision, but we decided to move forward," said a Delta spokeswoman.

"It's just a terrible time to advertise," said Jim O'Donnell, president of Seabrook Marketing. "I understand how time-sensitive Delta's advertising is, but they're on the horns of a dilemma"with the Olympics.


Kiwi also decided to proceed with a $5 million print campaign emphasizing its safety record and employee experience, taking a serious turn from price-oriented ads featuring its lighthearted Kiwi bird mascot (AA, July 15). The ads from Long Haymes Carr, Winston-Salem, N.C., break today.

"We pulled our [fare] ads for 48 hours" after the TWA accident, said Tad Hutcheson, Kiwi VP-marketing. However, "there has been a heightened fear [overall], and we can't afford to have consumers afraid of flying."


Kiwi was able to leverage the misfortune of grounded ValuJet at the Olympics, landing a position on Megavision screens. "ValuJet canceled, and we thought it was a great way to reach our largest hub city," Mr. Hutcheson said.

There has been industry speculation that last week's announced $100 million sale of discount carrier Carnival Air Lines to the soon-to-launch new Pan Am-The New Airline was made to protect Carnival Corp.'s cruise line brand image.

Carnival Air's estimated $4 million account was won in June by Ryder & Schild, Coral Gables, Fla. That win could be jeopordized by Pan Am's acquisition.

Pan Am VP-Marketing Rick Blake said it's too early to decide whether his airline's agency, Weller O'Sullivan Zuckerman & Lightcap, Los Angeles and New York, will work together with Ryder or if there will be a review.M

Contributing: Jeffery D. Zbar.

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