Wieden+Kennedy wins Delta Airlines account

Delta Airlines is the world’s biggest airline. Did you know that? I didn’t. Well, maybe I had heard it once or twice, after the merger with Northwest. But who pays attention to anything about airlines anymore, other than Southwest?

Wieden+Kennedy will try to change all that indifference now that they have won the Delta account over a motley gang including Digitas, Ogilvy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Deutsch and probably a few of the other usual suspects.

I’m always pleased for any client that chooses W+K because the agency will go all out for the client.  They’ll find a way to make the client stand out and connect with its audience, and they won’t quit until they succeed. But the real question these days isn’t the advertising, because in the end, people know all too well the shortcomings of modern air travel.

The real question is: What will the client actually do to create a better service, and a better relationship with the public?

I fly Delta occasionally. I have no specific problems with it. Maybe they’re less bad than United and a few others, yet they’re not as distinctive as Southwest or JetBlue. Other than the routes it offers and the markets it serves, is there anything that makes flying Delta a memorable experience?

(Well, sure, they have that strange and hypnotic flight safety video, but that’s a whole other topic.)

I am not at all confident that advertising can make a difference in any airlines’ business these days, unless the ad includes that magical idea that inspires actual change in the service, product or performance. If anyone can do it for Delta, you’d have to give W+K good odds.

I hope W+K’s contribution to Delta extends beyond promotion to some ideas that can really make a difference — not just to Delta, but to the flying public.

Now that would be way cooler than just another advertising award to hang on W+K’s wall.

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