Monday, March 17, 2008

Mary Wells Lawrence and Braniff

Before founding the agency that carried her name, Mary Wells Lawrence was part of Jack Tinker & Partners, where she was first recognized for bringing a theatricality to advertising, a more cinematic and story-driven approach to selling. Given the fledgling Braniff account, Ms. Wells re-introduced the carrier to the world by breaking out or the dull monochrome world that air travel was circa 1965. She splashed color outside and inside the planes and outfitted the "hostesses" (sorry, the "flight attendant" name was still years away) in stylish Emilio Pucci designs. 
It was "The end of the plain plane," as the campaign put it, and it kept Braniff in the news for months on end.  It also led to Braniff encouraging Ms. Wells to start her own agency, Wells Rich Greene, with the airline as its first client.

This commercial may not be the showiest example of a Mary Wells Lawrence production, but the announcement it made was strong enough to make up for the commercial's deficiencies:



Realizing that, in Ms. Lawrence's words, "the advertising had to live up to the planes," followup spots got more creative. In one that was a bit edgy for the era (but typically sexist in its view of its stewardesses), the new uniforms were ostensibly highlighted:



(Incidentally, this spot first ran during the Superbowl, years before Apple thought of using a provocative spot to hold the attention of the huge audience.)

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