Case study: digital innovation at American Airlines

One of the biggest tasks faced by American Airlines when rebranding was conveying its new image and showing off new aircraft at a time when very few were in service.

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“It was a big challenge,” says Davis. “How do you talk up the new product’s ’proof points’ and show off the aircraft when very few actually exist? It would have been very difficult and expensive to take planes out of service [to create advertising with them], so we had to look for a more creative solution.”

AA enlisted UK-based 3D production company Smart Cookie to create computer-generated, photo-realistic content, enabling it to show customers the new offering.

“[We have] an interactive tour of our new 777-300 aircraft so that passengers can move between cabins, see how seats are configured and understand what the in-flight experience is all about,” says Davis.

AA is also using digital marketing assets offline; a pop-up screen shows corporate clients the new aircraft. For example, instead of having to transport demonstration models of the new business-class seat, 3D content is uploaded to the portable system, which can be ready in less than 15 minutes.

“We’ve had all our new assets modelled in 3D,” says Davis. “We are very keen to utilise innovation and technology, which is part and parcel of our overall brand evolution.”

Smart Cookie is also responsible for the Brandscapes onboard welcome video, which is designed to relax passengers in advance of take-off.

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