Just What is Delta Advertising Here?

Delta Air Lines has a new 60-second ad spot out and I’ve now watched it a couple times. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what the goal is.

There’s the guy standing forlorn in the rain; he’s the one consistent character throughout. And he’s just standing there, holding his bag, staring at a building until the end (spoiler alert) where a woman runs out into the rain while barefoot to give him a hug. Did he fly in special to see her and she wouldn’t answer the door? Did she kick him out and he had bought a ticket to escape on Delta and now he needed to refund it? What is the relationship with the airline, or even with regular life?

There’s a skier, some guys walking on the street in Chicago and a woman making a presentation from a rather impressive podium. There’s even a shark jumping out of the water, though that’s different than jumping the shark.

So, does anyone know what the point of this advert is??

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Delta is so profitable that it can make completely abstract advertising and has loosened it’s pursestrings with its ad agency?

  2. This isn’t completely abstract. Here’s my take.

    Take a risk, Delta can get you there. The guy in the street decided to fly somewhere and hope that a long lost love still cares for him but, standing in the rain, isn’t sure yet. Girl sees him and is glad he came. Skier flies somewhere to take a risk and then gathers the courage to take the leap. Another decides to something space-ey, needs to fly to get to the cosmodrome or the California desert. Girl joins some shark expedition, takes a risk. Woman risks a speech in front of an international crowd. Only one direction to go for success…and DL will get you there. The ad agency is trying to appeal to our risky sides, take a chance. Now, our risks might not be like those shown in the ad but if I find courage to do something I wouldn’t normally do maybe it’ll require me buying a plane ticket.

    I like the ad, and it’s not at all confusing to me.

  3. I think Sice nailed it. It is a bit abstract, but there are a few common threads. First there I think they are say go and take a risk and you can count on Delta to be there for you. Second, with the engine they are hinting at Delta’s mechanical and dispatch reliability. Finally, who doesn’t want to hear the silky tones of Donald Sutherland? I do think they should have had more jet roar at the end.

  4. I’ve thought about the skier (effectively jumping off a cliff), the missile launching, the white whale, the guy in the rain. In the end, Seth, I’m with you: it’s a Delta, Duh.

  5. Maybe the cliff and shark are emblematic of Delta. I’d certainly say that the value of Skymiles has gone off the metaphorical cliff in value over the last few years. Delta never mentions loyalty, caring, reciprocity, or trust in commercials these days. Delta might be providing some unnecessary insight into the future of Skymiles as a whole.

  6. With DL’s investment in Virgin Atlantic, and recently AeroMexico, perhaps Delta cryptically means with it’s ending slogan “…. that tells the world: We’re coming for you.” Perhaps this means DL plans to invest heavily in another foreign carrier soon? [because of being so profitable]

    This is a pipe dream… but… maybe… just maybe… Delta has future plans to eventually to unveil another SST in the not-too-distant-future.

  7. @Christian – while the loyalty program is poorly treating its members it’s hard to disagree that Delta’s reliability will get you there, and most likely on time. If DL were concerned about things they’d put more resources into Skymiles and would actually advertise it. And since the majority of potential customers aren’t very frequent fliers it makes sense to advertise to the strengths of the company.

  8. I wouldn’t normally be interested in a Delta ad, but your title/question prompted me to watch it. I think it’s actually quite good/stirring, a more compelling version of Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ ads.

    Basically, Delta is saying whatever your loftiest desire or most ambitious goal, they’ll take you there… but doing it (going for it) is now in your hands.

  9. I live in Alaska Airlines country. We have been hearing Delta’s drumbeat of “we’re coming for you” for a couple of years. Now that Alaska has shored up it’s position with the announced merger with Virgin America, that strategy — and this campaign — sounds like a bit of a false threat. I have no doubt that this campaign was in the works before the merger was announced.

    You comin’ for me, Delta? You comin’ for ME? That’s okay. Alaska’s got my back.

    That said, Delta will continue to be my #2 preferred domestic airline.

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