Travel and Tourism: May 2010 Archives

The trend towards more simplistic naming and branding continues upon the announcement that Atlantic Southeast Airlines has launched a new brand identity "that reflects its strong, forward-moving direction within the regional airline industry."

This subsidiary of SkyWest, Inc. operates 800 daily flights to 113 airports in 31 states and the two companies form the world's largest regional airline.

ASALogos250.pngThe new logo is far cleaner and less quirky than the old one and their tagline, "Stay Connected!" seems to be a play on Internet connectivity and "connection" flights via Atlanta's airport.

It shifts away from the acronym "ASA" (which is still the main word on the domain name, flyasa.com). They are promoting their own name in order to separate themselves from their historic associations with Delta, illustrating the company's expansion beyond reliance on Delta, for whom it often acts as a regional carrier.

The bolder imagery and the foregrounding of the name is interesting, I think. Here is a company trying to create a separate identity, despite the fact that the branding is not directed at passengers, who cannot buy tickets directly from the airline.

This is a move to make the brand more attractive to more partners and I think it works very nicely.

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AustraliaUnlimited.gifAustralia's new slogan is "Australia Unlimited," while the (unattached) new tourism campaign will use the tagline "There's Nothing Like Australia."

The latter was launched via an amusing, and effective, interactive campaign recently. "Australia Unlimited," however, was coined by the same people who brought us the disastrous "So Where the Bloody Hell Are You?" campaign that many people felt was offensive and promoted the idea of Australia being filled with foul mouthed rubes rather than as an excellent tourism and business destination.

Trade minister Simon Crean said of the new tagline, "Being the 'quiet achiever' is not going to cut it in an increasingly competitive global market...We need to market ourselves better. Australia is known as a great place to have a holiday but it is also a great place to do business."

The campaign will be launched during the Shanghai Expo in China next week, who is Australia's largest trading partner.

The worldwide chairman of the agency that created the campaign, Tom Dery, said in a radio interview (click here for the full interview) that this reflects the "unlimited potential" of the country and will "attract immigration, investment, and promote a lot of things that perhaps people overseas aren't aware we've got in Australia."

I have watched this rebranding campaign since its inception in August of last year. The campaign is taking its cues from New Zealand's 100% Pure campaign, which has been in effect for over a decade and attracted both tourists and business people to the country.

The new tagline does indeed promote the idea of limitless possibilities, although it sounds a tad corporate. But then again, that may be the point. I also find it amusing that the Australians, true to form, can't resist creating a slogan that sounds bigger than that of their Kiwi counterpart.

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So it's official: the Continental name is dead following the merger between Continental Airlines and United Arilines.

The combined holding company has nixed the name and already put out pictures of the new paintwork that will be on the United planes.

And the news is that while the name will be United, "Continental's colors and its livery logo, a gold and white globe-like sphere on the tail wings of its fleet, will remain intact." unitedairplane.png

The Continental name was well known, and many in the Northeast today are puzzling over why it is gone. It was well known across New York, being featured on taxis and formerly on the arena that is home to the New Jersey Nets and Devils.

Continental was also a greatly admired company, and conversely one industry watcher called the United name "toxic" because of its frequent staff issues and bankruptcy.

Scott McCartney of The Wall Street Journal is particularly sad to see the name go, bidding farewell to the "Proud Bird," a hearkening to the company's old 1960's tagline "The Proud Bird with the Golden Tail."

"For many long-time Continental loyalists, it'll be a sad day when the name gets painted over for the last time and a colorful chapter of aviation history is closed," writes McCartney.

Steven Frischling, a blogger of Flying With Fish, is less nostalgic, saying that the plan to merge the United name with Continental's imagery is just plain "confusing."

Since this will make United, the world's largest airline, Frischling suggests a whole new branding nomenclature and the name "Varney Airways," after Walter T Varney who interestingly, founded both companies!

Now, all eyes are on American and US Airways, who might follow suit to counter the United behemoth, but this seems unlikely.

And given the state of the airline industry's mergers and acquisitions, I would be hard-pressed to see an intervention by anti-trust regulators.

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