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American Airlines returns to brand marketing after four-year hiatus

American Airlines has returned to brand-led work for the first time since 2016 with ‘You are Why we Fly’ – a film that looks to explain why planes are still taking off and thank staff for their service during the coronavirus outbreak.

The spot was created by agency of record CPB. It features user-generated smartphone footage of empty planes and airports alongside shots from a “small photo and video shoot” undertaken by the brand and agency.

A voiceover asks the question: “Why do we fly?” In answer, she responds: “We fly because people need to get home, and life-saving equipment needs to get to the lives that need saving. We fly because you’re doing your part to keep the world moving, and we want to do our part too.”

The film, which is currently running on AA’s owned channels, is accompanied by creative spanning Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, banner ads, email marketing, internal communications and digital screens at airports.

It comes as social commentators continue to ask why planes are still flying despite global lockdown restricting travel for much of the world.

Meanwhile, plummeting passenger numbers have meant a swathe of airlines are now facing bankruptcy.

Since 2016, AA has primarily focused on product and promotional marketing, as well as releasing new in-flight safety films and media that supports external causes, such as Stand Up to Cancer.

The brand’s vice-president of marketing, Janelle Anderson, told The Drum the decision to return to brand marketing in a time of crisis was made to demonstrate the full breadth of AA’s work.

“With all the change and uncertainty happening now, we wanted to reassure our customers that we’re focused on them and the reasons why they fly,” she said. “We also wanted to recognize the important work our team members are doing. They come to work to fly during a pandemic because they are essential to our customers, the American economy, and the world at large.”

“We do so much more than point A to point B, and this is an opportunity to show what this business means to all of us.”

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