Mad Men with wings?

Passion, jealousy and espionage — they do it all — and they do it at 30,000 feet.

Pan American World Airways was founded in 1927 as a scheduled airmail and passenger service operating between Florida and Havana. With its refined image and famous flying boats, or ‘Clippers’, the airline soon became synonymous with the romance and glamour of air travel.

Then, in the early ‘90’s, when things other than romance and glamour became fashionable, Pan Am flew off into the sunset.

Now, what’s old is new again.

The folks that bought the Pan Am brand name after the legendary airline went bust in the 1990s are trying to revive it.  In addition to the much-anticipated TV show on ABC this fall, we will see the takeoff of Pan Am merchandise, such as the classic blue-and-white bag called The Explorer.

Can the Pan Am brand fly high again?

Pan Am was about people getting dressed up to fly and experience a journey to a dreamy world above the clouds. In today’s flight plan, there is little fun and glamor attached to the thought of air travel. Pan Am offers everyone the glimmer of hope that travel can be a swanky adventure once again. (Then again, didn’t Jet Blue try to do this with their “Jetting” campaign a few years ago?)

Will people feel the same affection for Pan Am now because they remember the brand from 20 years ago? Will a new generation with no memory of the brand embrace Pan Am the way they embrace Mad Men or cocktail culture? If the show succeeds, will someone propose an HBO movie about rump Air or People’s Express?

Maybe blue & white logos are just where it’s at right now – Facebook, Twitter…Pan Am.

So is Pan Am Mad Men Meets the Mile High Club? Or just an eccentric product placement for a brand that no longer exists? As usual, it all depends on the quality of the creative content.

Schifino Lee

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