Friday, July 25, 2008

Come Fly with Me

Braniff International Airways was an American airline that operated from 1928 until 1982. Their planes travelled between the central midwest to South America, Panama, Asia and Europe.

In the mid sixties the airline drastically changed its image on the advice of Harding L. Lawrence. Lawrence became the new President of Braniff International after leaving his position as the Executive Vice President of Continental Airlines. Over the next 15 years, he led the airline into a ground breaking marketing campaign. On a quest to alter the companies public image, Lawrence hired Jack Tinker Associates who in turn assigned advertising executive Mary Wells as account leader. Wells brought on board New Mexico architect Alexander Girard and Italian fashion designer Emilio Pucci. The "End of the Plain Plane" campaign begins.

Girard started with the exterior of the planes. He wanted the planes to be painted nose to tail in vibrant colors like "metallic purple". Braniff's advertising team modified the color to beige, ochre, orange, turquoise, baby blue, yellow and lavender. Lavender was dropped in less than a month as lavender and black are consider bad luck in Mexico. The interiors were outfitted in 57 different varitations of Herman Miller fabrics. The color scheme transcended to the gate lounges, ticket offices and even corporate headquarters.

Pucci used "space age" themes for the stewardess' clothing including clear plastic helmets worn between the terminal and the plane to keep their hair in place. Stewardesses were called "hostesses" and their clothing and accessories were composed of interchangeable parts that could be removed as needed. In 1969 Pucci designed "Pucci IV" for the intro of "747 Braniff Place", the airlines most famous plane. The collection debuted at the Dallas Hilton by Pucci himself in 1970. Even today the vintage Pucci designs for Braniff are deeply desired and extremely valuable.

In 1968 Braniff started an "if you've got it - flaunt it" advertising campaign. The ads featured Andy Warhol, Sonny Listen, Salvador Dali, Whitey Ford and a Playboy Bunny.

In 1977 Pucci was replaced by American fashion designer Halston. His new uniforms and leather airplane seats were dubbed the "ultra look". The simplistic designs were praised by critics and passengers.

In 1982, due to escalating fuel prices, expansions and fierce competition the airline ceased operations.


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