Please familiarize yourself with the safety information in the following commercial.

The new Delta campaign from Weiden & Kennedy is shot in docu-black and white, so you know it’s serious.

Serious as a heart attack, actually. I don’t have a transcript of the actual copy, but here’s what I remember: after posing the rhetorical question “What does it take to fly?” (violating Feinberg’s rule of never starting a conversation with a disinterested party by asking a fake question), the VO goes on to say something like you have to head into the wind, or you won’t be able to generate enough lift to take off. And we see someone who’s clearly a flight instructor making the point to a nervous-looking newbie pilot.

Now, being a writer of copy, I know this whole thing is just a big, winged metaphor for the newly-merged Delta/Northwest entity fearlessly facing stiff economic headwinds and embracing change. I get it, I get it. I don’t care, but I get it.

Still. I was on a plane going to Scotland from JFK last week, waiting our turn to take off, and all I could think was, Are we facing into the wind? What if we’re not? Did I pack too much shit in my duffle? Is my life insurance paid up? How cold is Jamaica Bay this time of year?

This is not what you want your flying public thinking about with your, um, launch spot. And the theme line—“Keep climbing.” Sweet Jesus! Who wants to hear that snatch of cockpit chatter?

Climb! Climb, dammit!

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