Friday, April 08, 2005

:: adgruntie :: Elton John and AirTran

+AirTran uses Elton John's image on their planes.
Last month, AirTran Airways, a low-cost airline serving 43 cities, painted giant pictures of Elton John's face on many of its planes. [...snip...]But something changed with Air Tran's new ad campaign. Elton John didn't allow them to use his name, his body, his music or his voice. The only thing they could rent was his face.
And stalk them, too. AirTran was so overwhelmed with people calling to find out where they could see the planes that they temporarily established an “Elton Tracking System” on their Web site. We've gone from stalking celebrities on the ground to stalking their images in the air.

Thanks to AirTran, even the skies aren't safe from advertising. What are their planes but billboards at 30,000 feet? And I might add, billboards of an out gay man flying through the airspace of states that voted to ban gay marriage.

It's a testament to the power of celebrity worship that the airline was willing to pay for advertising that reaches more birds than people.

Of all the ironies in this story, my favorite is the idea of plastering the face of star known for his over-the-top extravagance on a dirt-cheap airline he wouldn’t step foot on. Like all low-cost carriers, AirTran is basically a bus with wings. I know, because I fly it often (and recommend it frequently).

Another irony is that Elton isn't endorsing AirTran. He's actually a spokesperson for XM Satellite Radio, which is now available on AirTran planes. He granted XM, not AirTran, the rights to his image.
Strange...especially since it's XM that has the rights to the image. I wonder what Elton thinks of this.

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