"JetBlue has always believed that travelers deserve better, and going above and beyond for our customers has been an integral piece of JetBlue's DNA since day one," marketing vp Elizabeth Windram states.
This is how we're introduced to "Just Alright Doesn't Fly Here," a MullenLowe campaign that contrasts the Wright Brothers—credited with inventing the first successful airplane—to the Alright Brothers, two less-than-ambitious burnouts who may be to blame for air travel's pitiable standards.
"This campaign is designed to shine a much-needed spotlight on the complacency that's become an all-too-common part of the airline experience and show those who haven't traveled with us before that there's a better way to fly," says Windram.
Below is "Just Alright Beginnings."
There are some epic moments in the video above. Asked whether there'd be "moving pictures" aboard, one brother proclaims, "The clouds will be their entertainment!"
Meanwhile, in "The Just Alright Treatment," we get a taste of the Alright Brothers' communications strategy, which of course is neither admirable nor original; lots of brands and agencies still use this model.
The structure of each :30 is the same—a fun little flashback, which we discover is a story a JetBlue employee is telling another to illustrate how awful things were, and still can be, out in the world beyond. Sometimes it rings smug, even when the ads play on legitimate frustrations.
In "Customer Disservice," which claims it's by design that airline representatives are impossible to get on the phone, a JetBlue customer service rep incredulously goes, "Wait. And they get away with that?"
"You don't fly much, do you?" his counterpart says, before smoothly picking up a call on the first ring.
The work acts as a mirror to JetBlue's own offerings—good customer service, sufficient space for knees, in-flight entertainment and food. You know, things you might expect in a totally normal service situation that doesn't involve a security frisk. In case people miss the subtext, a set of :15s drive the point straight home.
The work will appear online, on TV, and via radio and music streaming services. Digital banners and billboards will also "contrast everyday mediocre moments" that people live with while in transit, like sitting in traffic or waiting for the train. Expect to see it in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, now through mid-December.
The work is JetBlue's first major marketing campaign since "Air on the Side of Humanity," also by MullenLowe, which launched in 2013. Weirdly though, that's not the earned media that most resonates in our memory. (Sorry, JetBlue. You're never living that down.)