American Airlines Finalize Wrap Branding

As with all companies, branding is an important advertising strategy. For airlines, its livery offers the biggest billboard possible. Hence, it is vital for each carrier to effectively utilize them and be representative of their own personalities. In the case of American Airlines, its latest livery design was unveiled and rolled out on 200 aircraft last January. It was frankly American compared to its original “AA” initials with an eagle crest. The new design is a big American flag on the tail, which may seem unoriginal. In addition, the flag makes American Airlines appear less international and more domestically focused.

But with the recent merger, CEO Doug Parker was faced with the question of whether or not the keep the new identity change. He left the decision up to the staff, in which they had to vote between the following options:

  • To keep the new livery design with the American Flag tail
  • To revert back to the original “AA” initials with an eagle crest

The verdict was in after 60% of the staff (about 60,000 people) voted. A little more than half of the votes were in favor of the new tail.

Although Doug Parker stated that keeping the new tail is “a firm decision we can all embrace”, many believe that more time should have been invested into creating something more likeable. It is something that requires a lot of consideration because it is a lasting image of an airline.

So, was there a need to change the livery design? The “AA” eagle crest design has been around for 45 years. In my opinion, I think it’s always nice to change things up a bit. However, placing the American flag blatantly on aircraft tails is not a smart approach if the airline wants to target a broader audience. What do you think?

Massimo Vignelli, designer of the original logo, expressed that the new one would not “last another 25 years.” Let’s see how that goes.

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