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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Ads to Show Softer Aeroflot

For MTAeroflot's first Boeing 767 outfitted with the new color scheme joined the fleet Friday.
As Aeroflot works to implement the new image crafted for it by British branding firm Identica, the flagship airline said Monday that it will launch an 18-month television and billboard advertising campaign in October.

To oversee the effort, Aeroflot last week tapped Moscow ad agency Media Arts FCB to run the campaign meant to win over new clients to the carrier's new values.

These values involve showing off the softer side of the airline, which was long infamous for its chilly demeanor. Aeroflot's new priorities call for greater sincerity, hospitality, professionalism and more focus on serving passengers and meeting world class standards, Tatyana Zotova, head of Aeroflot marketing department said by phone Monday.

Media Arts, whose client list includes juice and dairy giant Wimm-Bill-Dann, German cosmetics-maker BDF Beiersdorf and Rossia television, is a newcomer to the airline business.

Media Arts itself is a unit of Foote, Cone & Belding, which is in turn owned by New York-based Interpublic, the world's No. 2 advertising firm, according to a statement released by the airline.

"We [Aeroflot and Media Arts] have a month to put together a TV commercial that we will start broadcasting in mid-October," Zotova said, adding that the commercials will run in the lead-up to the key summer and winter travel seasons through 2005.

The campaign's budget has yet to be determined, but it will not exceed $2 million this year, Zotova said.

In 1997, Aeroflot launched its first memorable but vague television commercials depicting an elephant gradually rising from the horizon through a heat haze into a brilliant blue sky to the tune of a slogan which, loosely translated, said the airline was "fast to take off" or "light on its feet."

It was not clear what effect the campaign actually had. Zotova said that no records of the campaign organized by the Premier SV advertising agency remain with the company.

Although both Aeroflot and Media Arts have kept mum on what the airline's new slogan or image will be, Zotova did say it definitely will not involve elephants or any other animals.

Elephants aside, the old hammer and sickle will still grace the new silver, blue and orange livery of the Aeroflot fleet.

Last Friday, the airline received its first Boeing 767 of the total 27 foreign jets with which it plans to upgrade its fleet. By 2005, Aeroflot plans to have eight more such planes along with 18 Airbuses 319/320. The Western planes' relative efficiency compared to domestic planes is expected to save the airline up to $100 million per year.

This efficiency, however, is being questioned by the National Reserve Bank, an Aeroflot minority shareholder, which holds around a 30 percent stake in the carrier.

Through the Ilyushin Finance Co. leasing company, NRB has an interest in the Voronezh aviation plant, which makes long-haul Ilyushin 96s.

Eager to sell ten more of those planes to Aeroflot, NRB president Alexander Lebedev said last week that he will ask Aeroflot's board of directors to hire independent consultants to verify whether Western planes do indeed have lower operating costs, Interfax reported.