Air France’s Incredible New Brand Video

Filed Under: Air France, Videos

I’m a sucker for some good airline marketing, and in particular I love a well done airline brand video. Not only does it often involve some drool-worthy airplane shots, but it really gives you a sense of how the airline is trying to position themselves to the public.

Within the past few days, Air France has released their new brand video, which is narrated by astronaut & pilot Thomas Pesquet. Here’s how Air France describes the “We Are Air France” video:

For more than 85 years, the men and women of Air France have been passionately committed, on a daily basis, to offering the airline’s customers an exceptional travel experience that takes them all around the world.

The strategy Air France took here is surprising, and also totally awesome. Often when airlines create brand videos they’re too focused on the actual product, and on trying to sell their offering to customers.

What I love about this video is that it’s instead focused on creating a sense of wonder around aviation. It gets at the core reason that people fly, and focuses on how aviation as such is pretty incredible.

I’ve always enjoyed Air France’s marketing, but this is possibly one of my favorite videos from them yet, and that’s despite the fact that it talks very little about the passenger experience. Any aviation geek will no doubt appreciate all the airplane footage, both from the outside and from the cockpit.

Check out the video here:

For example, contrast this to Oman Air’s recent video:

While it was beautiful as well, the message wasn’t quite as clear. It did a good job of highlighting some aspects of their product and also showcasing the beauty of Oman, but it didn’t give me quite the same feeling.

I was happy watching the Oman Air brand video once, while I’ve now watched the Air France video at least a handful of times, and can’t get enough of it.

Anyone love Air France’s new brand video as much as I do?

(Tip of the hat to Daniel)

  1. Thomas is gorgeous…yes please.

    I am a Star Alliance advocate; however that vid makes me want to fly Air France soon enough.

  2. Nice corporate video in the mould of those they do when bidding for the Olympics etc. Gives the impression of saying a lot but in reality saying very little.

    It’s not going to make me fly AF though,

    But the use, despite AF having a female Chief Exec – of ‘Air hostesses and stewards’ grates a bit with me.

  3. @PST 777 – I just knew before even clicking it that it would be BA’s to Fly to Serve campaign. Absolutely incredible and has to be my favorite.

  4. Air hostesses rather than flight attendants. I’m an old guy, I much prefer to be hosted than attended to.

  5. Some lovely images, but that writing makes the toes curl…

    “the sky teaches us humility”. Er, no: the sky is an inanimate object. It doesn’t teach (or indeed have feelings or consciousness).

    “for more than a century France [not, you’ll notice, Air France] has been in the air…” – ah, so the real reason for this video is that Air France is pissed-off at BA’s 100th anniversary celebrations, and is also getting in an early spoiler for “partner” KLM’s 100th birthday later this year! AF is feeling left out…

    Ghastly. I remain shocked that any sentient human would be taken in by this corporate puff.

  6. O.M.G. – this is aviation porn! It was very reminiscent of Living in the Age of Airplanes, which candidly made me tear up, I loved it so much. This I’ll be watching multiple times. Love it!

  7. I enjoy the Thomas Pesquet’s youtube channel, but in this case, I would prefer the video without the narration. A gorgeous video for those of us who love flying. I don’t think that to be the case for the vacation traveler, though. I am not really sure who the target audience for these recent ads are. BA still leads on that front, with their previous series.

  8. @TheNicePaul

    Nature providing lessons in humility is a time honored tradition. In a spiritual sense (not religious), when once encounters something that can’t scream, engage in traumatic reenactments, can’t be reasoned with, can’t cower to one’s ego, a person must come to the conclusion that he/she isn’t the center of the universe and can’t control everything (and the deeper realization that nothing and nobody can really be controlled save for his/her own emotional state).

    To your point, I agree, the Sky doesn’t teach anything (certainly not humility); it’s the person who thinks they can conquer the sky, the pilots who thinks their 30,000 hours of flying experience prepares them for everything situation only to find themselves in circumstances that gives them a scare and teaches them to never take flying for granted – they gain humility from this realization that nature doesn’t care.

  9. @Kevin

    that made me cringe when I heard it, but then I think it might be just odd phrasing in translation – that it just mean that that was when aviation began in France and not that aviation was first born in France at that time. There other places in the narration where it seems there’s some ambiguity due to translation between French and English (I’m going to guess it was first written in French)

  10. I really like that they didn’t push their First/Business seats.

    They focussed on brand and not product. Very good.

  11. @The nice Paul

    You seem to hold some grudge.
    Er, no: the sky is an inanimate object.
    Apple is also an inanimate object. Newton was just a lunatic psychopath who came up with a “corporate puff” called gravity.

    “for more than a century France [not, you’ll notice, Air France] has been in the air…”
    You have to think back more that that. But I guess, like Newton, this is way too far back and history for you probably just started in 1901.

    French was the first in the air back in the 1700s. They were the first humans in the air on a balloon.
    The term “aviation” is French (derived from Latin)

    I guess this answers @Kevin At 0:00:18, “Aviation was born in France.” Really?

    This is no corporate puff just pure over the edge “French pride”.

  12. Greta video, love the text and videos.
    The music could have been more modern (electro for instance)
    I agree with TravelX, I like the fact they’re not shy featuring their economy class.
    On a side note, and a Frenchman, it’s tue that the French are never satisfied

  13. @Doug

    The BA video from 1989 you have posted is simply awesome especially if you think it’s 30 years old. Thanks for posting it.

  14. Honestly? It’s a nice video but not to the point to be over impressed. And moreover, aviation wasn’t born with the Wright brothers? Am I missing something? And yes, I like more the Oman Air video. Aligns the airline with the country and Oman as a destination. Hey, it’s just my very own opinion.

  15. @ Kevin it’s open to debate, however aviation was pioneered in France

    KLM has been very quiet about its 100th anniversary.

    The first hint is on the 787-10 to be delivered to Amsterdam on 29th

    BA is not 100 and was established in 1974

  16. 5 STAR video…. very inspired.
    Love their AIRFRANCE livery. I think its my favorite.

  17. IMHO I think they should go one year without an employee strike before they claim “the men and women of Air France have been…committed, on a daily basis”.

    I don’t necessarily blame employees when strikes occur, but strikes seem to occur more frequently at CDG than LHR/AMS/FRA/MUN.

  18. @doug simply THE best airline commercial ever. Both in terms of scale, imagination and emotion. Hugh Hudson did an amazing job with the BA ‘face’ commercial and it was at a time when BA was at its best.

  19. Yes- @Nate nate
    As much as I love their culture and accent, they love to complain and strike.
    The French are the most negative people. It’s a cultural thing. I
    “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away”.

  20. Gorgeous exterior shots – particularly of the 787-9 in the final scenes, which looks stunning in their livery. Thanks for sharing!

    However, I agree with several other commenters on here that BA’s “To Fly, To Serve” campaign was probably the best ever.

  21. Was that even a reference to AF447 in there? Plane navigating around a thunderstorm as the narrator says, “the sky teaches us humility”.

  22. I can’t forgive them strangle holding the few long haul flights I had (in economy) were not good..plane was not clean and 6 hours delay without any douceurs
    Business class short haul was perfect for the lunch (for my boss) but I never was fact before 25 years I wasn’t impressed with any airline..only after flying Garuda..SIA..Emirates and Etihad (and a few others) did the economy traveller get a whiff of elegance and luxury in a humane package
    The whole AF clip smells un peu chauvinistic moreover
    But I have to admit..we still miss the Concorde
    (And Le Ballon Rouge..and Zazie !)

  23. It’s ok. In my opinion, nothing beats Air France’s commercials from 1999 with the Chemical Brothers. The subtle air plane flying across the sky…stylish, creative and elegant. Just great branding. Haven’t seen one as good since.

  24. The line about the how the “sky teaches us humility” actually has an interesting connotation with AirFrance. In the last 20 years AF witnessed the Concorde tragedy, the AF447 tragedy, and a very close tragedy in Toronto. The Concorde accident was a freak as a metal strip fell off the CO DC-10 departing directly before. AF447 was a mystery for sometime but a tragedy nonetheless. Toronto everyone evacuated after the jet landed too far dow the runway and couldn’t brake before hurtling down a ravine. Three crashes in 20 years is not the standard for top global carriers – even if bad luck played a big role in all three. As per “Air Hostess” criticism it’s more the result in poor translations from French to English than anything overtly directed at disrespecting women.

    I love the video and since I am an employee I am impressed at the pride our company’s marketing department aligns with promoting style, romance, fine food and most things the French are renown for, in the air. Our flight attendants and cockpit crew turn many heads in the terminal. I like the direction Ben Smith is taking by promoting harmony amongst labor groups. Air France, along with Delta, KLM and Virgin have a strong opportunity on the North Atlantic. And Air France is, in it’s own way, returning a bit of glamour to the airline industry that not many other US/European carriers can/care to. The video represents consistent messaging of the airline’s ambition. Is every flight perfect – of course not. Looking forward to the next couple of years!

  25. Nice contrast from the coo-coo-bananas ‘France is in the air’, literally swinging from the ceiling ads, that probably sprung forth from the same mind that thought Joon was a good idea

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