The forbidden TSA and U.S. Customs ad

American Airlines gave me a little bit of leash to play with this ad. The boss said, “Here, do a combo ad for TSA preCheck and Mobile Passport Control. Let me know when it’s done.”

So like a good copywriter, I sat at my desk and pondered what was in it for my audience. How do these products benefit our customers in a tangible way?

The hassle of removing one’s shoes to walk through the see-you-naked scanner, then finding a place to put them back on afterward, is universal. People hate that. I know I do. So I came up with a clever ad to leverage our collective disdain of airport shoe removal.

This resulting ad may be my favorite piece from American. And it’s the only piece that never saw the light of day. I submitted it to my editor despite assurances from the designer that she would hate it.

Sure enough, she hated it. “It’s too cute,” she said. “These are government agencies we’re talking about. They don’t want cute.”

That was the end of it. My bosses seemed oblivious to the fact that we were targeting passengers, not government agencies. But I dare to believe the agencies themselves would have approved a bit of lighthearted ad copy anyway.

Oh well. More for my portfolio I guess.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 4.33.49 PM

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