Some feel blue as United, Continental wedding mixes old, new
The backlash is a reaction to one of the first compromises reached by the carriers’ CEOs during their April courtship: an agreement to stamp Continental’s stylized globe logo and blue-and-gold color scheme on all jets operated by the new United, which will be one of the world’s largest carriers.
United’s name and its Chicago headquarters will survive the tie-up, but not the “tulip,” the giant Saul Bass-designed “U” that has graced United’s jets for nearly 40 years.
Some longtime United fliers are protesting the move with “Save the Tulip” campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, urging fans of the venerable logo to bombard the airlines’ CEOs with letters and bouquets of tulips.
“Someone needs to make a stand for good communications and good branding,” said Timothy Jasionowski, who logs more than 100,000 miles annually on United. “The tulip is an iconic part of aviation history.”
The final design, unveiled Aug. 11, is the first step in a long and costly process that will define the merged carrier’s look and feel to the world, crucial in a service industry known for fickle customers. But executives are quickly learning that they can’t make everyone happy with a “something old, something new” approach.
United loyalists feeling nostalgic for the “Friendly Skies” now know the agony Houstonians felt upon learning that the merging carrier would be based in Chicago. For Continental fliers, there’s pride and relief in seeing the globe, a hallmark of their airline’s turnaround, made a prominent part of the new United.
“What they do next is what matters,” said Kevin Masi, principal and co-founder of Torque Ltd., a Chicago-based branding agency. “Rebranding is an opportunity and requirement to communicate to the marketplace.” A good design is really important for many things like business, find the best Brand Agency to improve how everyone sees your work!
Customers will be watching closely as executives reveal the fate of other branding marks and service touchstones at the merging carriers: George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” theme, in-flight Channel 9’s air-traffic-control patter and Economy Plus’ roomier seating for United; Continental’s DirecTV in-flight entertainment and its philosophy of not gouging customers for perks…….. continued.