Monday, October 3

"Pan Am" Sticks!

Last week I wrote about how I believe "scripted television" is making a comeback.  I'm still just as optimistic.  It's week two and the buzz has not died down about the new show, "Pan Am".  Sure, it's a take on "Mad Men" and there are other shows like "Playboy Club" who are trying to compete in the same creative space.  But for some reason, Pan Am is sticking.

I personally think it's because it's bringing back the glory days of flying.  Flying used to be glamorous and fun.  I remember my mom telling us to get dressed up to go flying.  Flying was taking us to exciting places, and the journey there was totally part of the experience.

Now we've got safety concerns, TSA screening, bad food, carryon luggage, and stretchy pants all destroying the experience.  Pan Am is bringing it back, and creating a buzz in the process.  The intrigue of the plot I believe will keep us engaged.  We saw a runaway bride, infidelity, and espionage.  What more do we need?  Oh ... it's also fun to see Christina Ricci reinvent herself.

Of course the marketing machine isn't hurting either.  The network (abc) is promoting the heck out of it, and all sorts of PR stunts are keeping the show top of mind and trending.  We talked about it quite a bit in my NYU class this past weekend.  In Times Square, you can sit in mock airplane seats and in bus stops all over the country, retro stewardess uniforms are on display as if in a museum.  When was the last time you heard the word "stewardess?"

Like any marketing hit, the show Pan Am is successful because it has hit on a true consumer insight and is delivering a consistent brand experience.  Show to show, engagement to engagement. plot line to plot line.

No wonder it's the breakout hit of the Fall tv season. 

What's your experience?  Jim.

PS - Just one note, the set designs and production value doesn't compare to Mad Men.  Need to give that show props for that.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect
Professor at NYU


  1. When discussing what to be for Halloween with 9 year old Madison I suggested she be a "Pan Am Stewardess" to which she responded who is Pan Am and what is a Stewardess?