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New Delta Ad Direction

October 4, 2011

I often admire + respect new campaigns, but am rarely genuinely excited about them. The Delta business is a bit old — I first noticed their new video look a while ago, but haven’t had the time to blog about it (the AJC has an article about the new ads with the byline of a year ago.) — but I get genuinely excited about them everytime I see them on TV/in plane and to a certain extent, in print.

In case you haven’t seen them, the best place to see them is on the Wieden + Kennedy site (cause guess what, if you’re looking for them on the Delta site, good luck… but more on that later).

They’re black and white, really beautiful and take a real pleasure in the graphic detail. Actually they remind me a lot of Leni Riefenstahl.

delta, ad, video, wieden + kennedey, screenshot, campaign

delta, ad, video, wieden + kennedey, screenshot, campaign

delta, ad, video, wieden + kennedey, screenshot, campaign

delta, ad, video, wieden + kennedey, screenshot, campaign

delta, ad, video, wieden + kennedey, screenshot, campaigndelta, ad, video, wieden + kennedey, screenshot, campaign

I really think the videos are stylistically really hot + beautiful, really underline the message that Delta employees both care about details and take genuine pleasure in them, really gets to the idea of “Keep Flying” or always rising. One last thing about these videos, and perhaps my most daring point: I think this is the first time within my lifetime I’ve seen mainstream corporate ads take on advertising as art so head on. (In a way that used to be much more widespread, alas.) (There’s an example I’m dying to find, of a famous company from the 40s that basically sponsored a bunch of artists and actively pursued a campaign of artistic advertising, and I can’t remember it. Please tell me if you know!)

Print ads — unfortunately I don’t have any visuals here, but they’re a little less exciting. Seem to run in two directions — photographic like the videos or different tones of blue and typographic (the ones I see in the subway). Seems like there’s some split as to what W+K controls in the new direction. The typographic ones are ok and the wording is ok, not offensive, and more or less on message — but they’re just not as exciting as this crazy b/w beautiful direction. At least they’re using the Delta logo creatively.

Unfortunately the website is a total fail; doesn’t seem like W+K has touched it or even influenced it at all.

Videos not readily available there (maybe they are there, but well hidden?), they are on youtube,with some hunting around. (Don’t know how youtube ranks videos, but these were definitely not the highest for “Delta”)

I’m actually pretty bummed about the website. Not to be all jargon-y and trendy to talk about “brand as experience” but since booking flights online is the only way most people do it nowadays, having the website be so…. old school, nowhere as clean, as tactily-pleasureful, so self-assured as the W+K ads — well it basically just kills it for me. Delta web seems to have nothing to do with Delta video, graphically or otherwise. I can think of three easy ways to bridge the gap between the video direction, though that wouldn’t at all touch the actual UX, which is where the real hardwork comes in. First easy way: cut that depressing brand blue shading from the background and start integrating that black + white richness and simplicity instead. Or integrate the logo as graphic element, tying in with the print, at least. I hear all the time about companies who have separate design teams for web and then for everything else… but really? Such a divide between the videos and the web? Just silly. Cut your social media teams in half and devote your resources to make the website experience (a mini Delta experience I can taste whenever I want) truly reflect your brand.

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