When You Got it- Flaunt It

Aviation Museum & Library

Oct 19, 2017 - May 17, 2018

When You Got it- Flaunt It:
Advertising Braniff International

In the ten years between 1965 and 1975, Braniff International revolutionized the way airlines could look, dress and live in the popular imagination. The driving force for this transformation was a series of advertising campaigns that presented the company ways no airline had been shown before. Although Braniff was unable to survive the economically-turbulent 1980s, its brilliant image, forged through advertising, is well remembered and continues to provide creative freedom for the entire industry today.

Mary Wells, a pioneering advertising executive working for Jack Tinker Associates, recalls that her greatest strength was in “theatricalizing life with dreams.” Her dream for Braniff International in 1965 was an experience that was fun, youthful, sexy and fashion-forward. It was an experience that started with the advertising and was carried straight through the ticket counters and airport lounges and onto the colorful aircraft served by air hostesses in radically designed uniforms. Launched in the midst of the creative, rebellious 1960s, the campaign was a runaway success.

In 1968, Braniff International turned over its advertising account to the upstart firm of Lois, Holland, Callaway. George Lois married his brash, unapologetic Bronx attitude to Braniff's renegade success in a single phrase that soon entered the general lexicon—"When you got it- flaunt it." This campaign portrayed unexpected, of-the-moment celebrities who had "it" declaring their loyalty to Braniff International. Although short lived, the campaign has had a lasting impact on Braniff's legacy.

The airline purchased a single Boeing 747 in the early 1970s, painted the aircraft in an eye-catching solid orange livery and put it to work flying a single route between Dallas and Honolulu. The fact that there was only a single 747 was turned into an advantage by branding the plane as the exclusive "747 Braniff Place." The special allure of "747 Braniff Place" was readily adopted by the travelling public and "Big Orange" boasted one of the most profitable 747 routes anywhere in the world.

In the mid-1970s, George S. Gordon had another idea about how to take Braniff International's colorful image in an unprecedented direction. He negotiated with the world-renowned artist Alexander Calder to paint two entire aircraft that would serve Braniff as flying works of art. Even today, these two planes boast some of the most famous liveries to ever be used on an airliner.

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