For The Many Things She Gave Me

 Posted by on March 21, 2010 at 12:59 pm  Retro, Season 3
Mar 212010

I found this vintage (and creepy) 1968 American Airlines ad on BuzzFeed.  The woman in the ad would seem right at home with the stewardesses who appeared in “Out of Town”  (right down to the blue color scheme).

The copy, which is slightly incongruous with the image, reads:

She only wants what’s best for you.  A cool drink. A good dinner. A soft pillow and a warm blanket.  This is not just maternal instinct. It’s the result of the longest Stewardess training in the industry.  Training in service, not just a beauty course.  Service, after all, is what makes professional travellers prefer American.  And makes new travellers want to keep on flying with us.  So we see that every passenger gets the same professional treatment.  That’s the American Way.

BTW, while touting “the American Way, ” the ad ironically spells “travellers” the British way.


  7 Responses to “For The Many Things She Gave Me”

  1. The New Yorker style calls for that type of spelling, though I doubt this ad came from The New Yorker.

  2. I don't know the stats, but I'm guessing mostly men flew and not women…everything from that time period seems directly marketed to men who travel.

  3. Yeah, she doesn't look too maternal to me!

    JS – I think there probably were more man traveling, especially since more men were working and needed to travel. Even for a family vacation or something the man of the house most likely controlled the purse strings and was making the decision of which airline to fly with.

  4. I feel that the copy and the image are not as incongruous as it might appear at first. I'm getting a distinct "Look, but don't touch" vibe. Not only is she "your mother", she's also eye candy for the straight white males. But no groping allowed, she's a professional flight attendant, remember.

    It gets creepier the more I think about it.

  5. Welcome aboard Oedipus Airlines!

  6. I know a little bit about that era, due to my academic work on regulatory issues. Only 15% of the American population in that period had ever been on an airplane, let alone flew frequently. And you guessed it, the vast majority (about 85%) of travelers — common spelling — were white males. The average plane ticket cost the equivalent of $800 today, given inflation.

    Look at how her cape is slung over her shoulders to suggest a nurse's cape. In the first years of commercial aviation, flight attendants were required to be registered nurses. And also, there was a show on TV called Julia, who was a nurse and dressed something like that.

  7. Terrific comment, brenda. That's not something I knew.

    I find that shot so contradictory: the copy drops the word "maternal", but the model's expression is anything but, and her pose is … schoolgirlish. Self-protective?

    It's a strange and fascinating ad.

    What a find, Matt. Thank you!

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