Hello, my dear sea-loving friends! Finnley the Dolphin here, splashing into your day with another episode of Finnley’s Audio Adventures. Today’s journey takes us back into the depths of sound and history as we explore the enchanting world of Pan Am’s advertising saga. Remember their catchy ‘Say Hello to Pan Am’ campaign? We’re diving back into these waters to uncover the story behind it. So, get ready to surf the tides of nostalgia and discovery with me!
The ‘Say Hello to Pan Am’ advertising campaign was one of the last marketing efforts of Pan American World Airways, following their merger with National Airlines in 1980. At that time, Pan Am had been primarily an international carrier, unable to operate domestic flights within the United States. The merger with National Airlines was supposed to provide Pan Am with a much-needed domestic network. However, this strategic move came at a time when the airline industry was facing significant challenges, including a global economic downturn and rising fuel costs.
The integration of Pan Am and National Airlines was fraught with difficulties. National’s network, primarily along the East Coast, was not sufficient to support Pan Am’s international routes. Moreover, the fleet compatibility and cultural differences between the two airlines’ staff created internal strife, impacting the quality of service.
Financially, the merger proved catastrophic for Pan Am. In 1980, the airline recorded a loss of over $120 million. The situation worsened the following year, with losses mounting to over $90 million in the first quarter alone. The merger, rather than boosting Pan Am, dragged down National Airlines as well, which had been performing relatively well prior to the merger.
Despite the creative efforts of the campaign, Pan Am continued to struggle financially. Throughout the 1980s, the airline attempted to stay afloat by selling off profitable parts of its business. However, these measures were not enough to save the company, and in December 1991, Pan Am ceased operations, marking the end of an iconic era in aviation history.
Just as the merger finalized and before these challenges surfaced, Pan Am launched the ‘Say Hello to Pan Am’ marketing campaign. Created by N.W. Ayer & Son, a pioneering American advertising agency, the campaign aimed to revitalize the airline’s image and attract more customers. N.W. Ayer & Son, established in 1869, was known for creating iconic advertising campaigns, such as AT&T’s ‘Reach out and touch someone’ and De Beers’ ‘A Diamond is Forever.’
The jingle for the Pan Am campaign was composed by Larry Santos, a notable American singer-songwriter popular in the 1970s. Santos was recognized for his soft rock and pop hits, and his ability to craft catchy tunes made the ‘Say Hello to Pan Am’ jingle especially memorable. The jingle’s success was further amplified when Frank Sinatra took the tune, rewrote the lyrics with Sammy Cahn and Dick Behrke, and recorded it, adding to its legacy.
This jingle was distributed on EVATONE SOUNDSHEETS, an innovative product of Evatone, Inc., a company known for manufacturing flexidiscs. Founded in 1925, Evatone originally produced molds for rubber stamps and later developed the Soundsheet in the late 1950s. These flexible vinyl records were unique for their ability to be included in print media, making them a popular choice for advertising campaigns.
As we swim back to the surface of our current time, it’s remarkable to see how Pan Am’s story intertwines the tides of aviation, advertising, and music history. The ‘Say Hello to Pan Am’ campaign, despite being set against the backdrop of the airline’s decline, serves as a poignant reminder of the era’s advertising ingenuity and the cultural impact of commercial jingles.
And with that, we conclude today’s dive into the ocean of sound and history. I hope you enjoyed this journey through the waves of the past with me, Finnley the Dolphin. Keep an ear out for more fascinating tales in Finnley’s Audio Adventures. Until our next aquatic adventure, stay curious and keep exploring the seas of knowledge. This is Finnley, signing off. Splash you later!”