AirTran Holdings, Inc.

Author:Rayna Bailey

Page 43

9955 AirTran Boulevard

Orlando, Florida 32827


Telephone: (407) 251-5600

Fax: (407) 251-5727

Web site:


AirTran Airways took to the skies in 1997 following the merger of AirTran, a small carrier serving 11 cities from its base in Orlando, Florida, and ValuJet, a discount carrier struggling to rebuild after the crash of one of its planes. Within two years AirTran was emerging as a strong competitor in the discount airline market, and the trouble-plagued ValuJet was fading into memory. By 1999 AirTran served 30 cities with 280 daily flights, and plans were under way to replace its entire fleet of planes with newer aircraft. AirTran's revenues were also steadily increasing, as passengers came back to the carrier. Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which involving the hijackings of four commercial aircraft, AirTran was one of the few U.S. airlines to report rising income, with revenues of $733 million in 2002.

To help with the transition from ValuJet to AirTran, the airline hired the Milwaukee office of Cramer-Krasselt to create a rebranding campaign. The initial effort, "It's Something Else," was launched in 1997. As the success of the rebranding effort became apparent, Cramer-Krasselt replaced "It's Something Else" in 2000 with a new campaign, "Your Airline Has Arrived." To increase consumer awareness of AirTran's low prices and services, promoted as helping to make travel easy and affordable, the $23 million "Go. There's Nothing Stopping You" campaign was launched in 2003.

The humorous ads that formed the "Go. There's Nothing Stopping You" campaign were a hit with consumers and industry watchdogs alike. Included were television and radio spots, as well as print, outdoor, and Internet ads. The campaign received a 2004 Gold EFFIE Award and in the month after its launch was recognized by Boards Magazine as one of the top spots.


In June 1993 ValuJet joined the ranks of discount airline carriers when its first flight took off, traveling between Atlanta, Georgia, and Tampa, Florida. With its low fares and reliable service, the airline quickly grew in popularity with consumers. But ValuJet was plagued with problems, including planes that slid off runways and a fire on one flight. Then, in May 1996, tragedy struck ValuJet when one of its airliners crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 people onboard. Following the crash, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded ValuJet while the airline's maintenance and safety procedures were investigated. The airline's operating license was returned in September 1996, but travelers deserted ValuJet amid ongoing fears of safety problems. Soon after its license was restored, ValuJet announced plans to

Page 44

merge with AirTran, a small carrier based in Orlando. The ValuJet name was dropped, and the carrier began operation in 1997 as AirTran Airways.

The Milwaukee office of Cramer-Krasselt was hired to help reshape the airline and win back wary travelers. The agency replaced ValuJet's agency, Atlanta-based Hughes Advertising. Cramer-Krasselt's initial campaign included references to the ValuJet name. "It would have been disastrous if we had tried to cover up the connection and then had it leak out that AirTran was flying ValuJet planes," Peter Krivkovich, president of Cramer-Krasselt, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The initial campaign, "It's Something Else," had such taglines as "By the time we're through reinventing ValuJet, you won't even recognize it … New Management. New thinking. New airline." The effort helped put the airline back on track, but by October 1998 its flights were still taking off only...

To continue reading