Sep 23

Image goes for a ride

I always wear jeans and sneaks when I fly. To me, comfort trumps appearance, especially in today's unfriendly skies.

September 23 - business_travel

It wasn't too long ago, though, that the very thought of dressing in jeans and sneaks on a business trip was verboten. My CEO at JWT always dressed in business formal wear, even when we were traveling on a Sunday. 'You never know who you might meet,' he admonished me, after spying my open neck polo.

On another occasion in the late 1980s, I sported jeans, cowboy boots and an unshaven face on a Sunday night flight to a client off-site. I figured I'd be flying alone, so why worry. Ah, but my client was also on the flight. We shook hands after landing, and then he offered me a piece of advice. 'There's casual and then there's casual. You represent your firm wherever you go. How do you think your CEO would feel if he saw you looking like this?' Duly noted.

That was many moons ago, of course. Today, there is no dress code for business travel. In fact, any code of airline comportment has been blown to smithereens. Nowadays, the typical fellow traveler is a morbidly-obese man dressed in a track suit, flip-flops and carrying two Double Whoppers with cheese on board. In fact, spying a passenger in suit-and-tie is akin to a sighting of Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman.

I knew the times had truly changed when I recently spied the always erudite, always neatly coiffed Bill Heyman in a pair of jeans at O'Hare. If the Bill Blass of PR search consultants is ok with jeans and sneaks at the airport, then it's ok with me as well. I just hope Mr. Heyman doesn't lapse into the track suit and Whopper mode any time soon. If he does, then we will have truly reached the end of days.

Sep 26

What’s next, sponsored clouds?

In the ongoing saga of advertising’s increasing irrelevance comes a tale from Britain that surprises evenAirplane_advertising_alaska_2
this jaded blogger. Not content with pasting ads in airplane bathrooms, seat backs and up and down the aisles of every airport in the world, a company called Ad-Air is now launching the “….world’s first global aerial network.” That’s Ad-Air speak for giant billboards you can see from the sky (ugh).

So now, as you enter your final approach having suffered countless delays, indignities and insults from the existing airline experience, Ad-Air intends to apply the coup de grace with an unwanted, unwarranted and unwelcomed ad some 30,000 feet below your cabin window.

Gee, what a great way to break through and create awareness for a marketer. I’m already pissed off and dead tired from the hellacious misadventure that is flying in the year 2007 and, bam, I look out the window and see yet another ad? Nice.

Gimme a break. This is a terrible idea created by an industry that continues to deconstruct as consumers pay less and less attention.

So, what’s next? Chevy print ads on clouds? Superimposing the Microsoft logo on the eye of the next category five hurricane? Why not start selling space in the skies above all major cities? I’ll bet the air space around the Empire State Building would command a premium price. And, sure enough, desperate advertisers would gladly shell out the money in the vain hope that consumers would actually care.