Archive for October, 2009

Olympic Air – inspiring advertising

October 30, 2009

It has been a while since I wrote an inspiring advertising post, but I recently came across some really good samples of advertising that I just had to share with you.

Olympic Airways was the flag carrier airline of Greece and until recently a state owned national airline. The name was coined by Aristotelis Onassis in 1957, the famous Greek shipping tycoon, who bought T.A.E. Greek National Airlines from the Greek state in 1956 and decided to rename it the next year. The company developed very rapidly under Onassis’ ownership and gained panhellenic recognition and acceptance. After the death of his son Alexandros in a plane crash in 1973, Onassis decided to sell all shares of Olympic Airways back to the Greek state.

Since then, a series of improper management decisions and growing competition from other European airlines resulted in the demise of the company and the creation of serious financial problems. In 2003, in an attempt to restructure the company, Macedonian Airlines, a subsidiary of Olympic Airways, was renamed Olympic Airlines and took over the flight operations of Olympic Airways. The old, debt-ridden company, Olympic Airways, ceized to exist.

The solution was temporary and unsuccessful. Olympic Airlines soon collected more debts and the company was ordered to repay 700 million Euro it received as state aid from the Greek state. With an ageing fleet, bad services and a bad punctuality record, it was only a matter of time before the company collapsed . Only its name, “Olympic”, reminded of its cosmopolitan, but nevertheless, long-gone past.

It, therefore, came as a surprise when Marfin Investment Group declared an interest to buy the its flight operations and technical base in 2009. After 35 years of state ownership, Olympic Air, the new company name, became private again and started operations on 1 October 2009.

The reason I mention the history of Olympic Air is simple. After many years of improper management, Olympic Airlines was left with only with only one legacy: its glorious name. Therefore, the agency undertaking the project of creating new advertisements would have a very difficult task. Not only would they have to assure us that the company has escaped problems of the past but they would need to convince us it can compete with the other domestic and European airlines.

The advertisements were based on a simple, yet elegant and powerful, idea: the wishes and expectations Greeks have about Olympic Air; their inner desire to see a company, deeply rooted in the history and the traditions of Greece, succeed yet again. Three prelaunch spots were introduced in Greek TV before the official inauguration of the company – and the official launch spot – on 1 October 2009. Those spots depicted people in several recognisable locations in Greece and abroad, writing their wishes in post-it notes. You can see the spots here:

Prelaunch Spot 1:

The wishes are (in order of appearance): “Have good journeys” (man close to bridge), “You can do the best” (basketball player), “In good faith” (man in house), “I expect a lot” (man with globe), “We love you” (couple in the sea at Chania port), “Make the difference” (man in block of flats). The commercial concludes with “From the 1st of October, the new era of Olympic Air commences. (pause) Olympic Air. Greece aloft”.

Prelaunch Spot 2:

The wishes are “We are connected with you” (man on shipping crane), “At last” (student looking at Tower Bridge in London), “Can’t wait” (expecting woman and husband), “With you” (woman writing under a bridge), “Always high” (man on a mountain). The commercial again concludes with “From the 1st of October, the new era of Olympic Air commences. (pause) Olympic Air. Greece aloft”.

Prelaunch Spot 3:

The wishes are: “I feel proud” (woman close to the new Acropolis museum), “You are in our hearts” (woman at the White Tower of Thessaloniki), “I am flying, I am flying” (child at the beach), “Can’t wait” (expecting woman and husband), “With you” (woman writing under a bridge), “Always high” (man on a mountain). The commercial again concludes with “From the 1st of October, the new era of Olympic Air commences. (pause) Olympic Air. Greece aloft”.

And then watch the final launch spot, based on the post-it notes ideas of the prelaunch spot.

Final launch spot:

At the start, we hear some of the wishes included in the prelaunch spots. The advertisement concludes “With the wishes of all Greeks, Olympic Air spreads its wings and rises where it belongs; truly aloft. (pause) Olympic Air. Greece aloft”.

The combination of the masterful locations and images, the emotional music by Evanthia Remboutsika and the feelings of expectations they create, make those spots truly remarkable.




October 24, 2009


(warning: movie spoiler ahead)

When Pixar first released Toy Story in 1995, few people would have guessed that computer-generated animation would dominate the future of cartoons. This is probably because what made the film loveable was not the masterful graphics but the inspirational storyline. Their latest movie, Up, is another fine example of Pixar telling a simple, yet moving, story.

78-year old retired balloon salesman, Carl Friedricksen and his wife Ellie dreamt their entire lifetime of embarking on a grand adventure. Inspired by their childhood hero Charles F Muntz, they longed to journey to “Paradise Falls” in South Africa. Now, following the death of his wife, Carl refuses to surrender his memory-laden home to construction workers.

Only when he receives a court order to move to the Shady Oaks Retirement Home does Carl begins to realise that his lifetime dream of going to Paradise falls is long gone…

Or perhaps not.

When people from the retirement home come to take him away, Carl lifts his house free of its foundations with thousands of helium balloons, and sets off for Paradise Falls.

However, there is one small problem: Russel, an 8-year old Wilderness Explorer, who, in an attempt to win his final badge “Assisting the elderly” and become a Senior Wilderness Explorer, finds himself trapped aboard Carl’s floating home.

The unexpected duo head toward Paradise Falls, where Carl will be taught an important lesson: the best adventure of his life was made not by the exotic location but is the sharing the journey.

If you thought that your grandparents would never care to watch an animated kid’s film, then this is definitely one family outing they should be included on.


P.S.: Image copyright by Pixar/Disney

Los Abrazos Rotos (Broken Embraces)

October 10, 2009


(warning: movie plot spoiler ahead)

Pedro Almodovar‘s films resemble ancient greek tragedies in their narrative. They successfully follow successfully the triptych of the ancient greek tragedies that stirs pleasurable emotions to the audience for the suffering. Hubris is triggered by mistakes or unfortunate choices of the passionate characters in the film; retribution results in their punishment and, finally, nemesis follows them in the katharsis of their soul. In the end, even if we do not agree with the life choices of Almodovar’s heroes and heroines, we cannot help but feel sympathy for them.

This is exactly what we witness in his latest film, Broken Embraces. We follow the story of a blind screenwriter called Harry Caine. Harry is assisted by his friend and film producer Judith and her son, Diego in his daily life. When Judith is away, Diego is briefly hospitalized due to a drug incidence Harry gets Diego from the hospital and looks after him at home. There, a series of discussions lead to Harry uncovering the sequence of tragic and unfortunate events responsible for his blindness.

In the past, Harry’s real name was Mateo Blanco and he was a well-known screenwriter and film-director. Harry met Lena (Penelope Cruz) in an audition and casted her for the leading role of his next movie, Chicas y maletas, which is based Almodovar’s script for “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown“. Lena, originally coming from a poor family, got involved with the millionaire Ernesto Martel and became his mistress to repay him for hospitalizing her sick father. Ernesto Martel, passionately in love with Lena, will do whatever it takes to keep her happy, even if this means financing Harry’s latest film. Due to the tiring schedule of rehearsals and shooting, Lena distances herself from Martel and falls in love with Harry. Martel becomes jealous of Lena and sends his son, Ernesto Martel Junior, to spy on her by directing a “behind the scenes” video during the production of the film. It is this way that Martel learns about Lena’s love for Harry and cannot hold his wrath. Before the premier of the film, Lena and Harry disappear from Madrid and Martel takes his revenge by re-editing and destroying the film. In Lanzarote, where Harry and Lena take refuge, a car accident kills Lena and leaves Harry blind. It is after the accident that Harry assumes his pseudonym as his real name and wants to forget the past forever.


Back in the present, after Judith returns to Madrid, she confesses to Harry being responsible for revealing Harry’s and Lena’s wherabouts to Martel at that time and feels responsible for Harry’s unfortunate fate. Harry learns that Judith still holds the lost reels of Chicas y maletas and decides to re-edit the film to release it after so many years.

In this film, we witness once again Almodovar’s powerful narrative and film-making. As with “Todo sobre mi madre” and “Volver” Almodovar does not portray his heroines as superwomen. It is their frailties, their passions and their mistakes that make them vulnerable and, therefore, human. And it is this fact that elevates Almodovar’s films into a special art form.


P.S.: All images © respective owners