Delta rebranding push takes page from Song

ALTANTA: Delta Airlines, mired in financial woes since filing for bankruptcy in September, is taking a branding lesson from Song, its hip, low-fare carrier that will be reabsorbed into the parent brand next month.

ALTANTA: Delta Airlines, mired in financial woes since filing for bankruptcy in September, is taking a branding lesson from Song, its hip, low-fare carrier that will be reabsorbed into the parent brand next month.

Joanne Smith, VP of consumer marketing for Delta and president of Song, is currently transferring Song's communications team under the Delta umbrella.

Delta has retained Dan Klores Communications (DKC) to reposition its domestic service and aid its international expansion. Shepardson, Stern, & Kaminsky (SS&K) and Creative Artists Agency (CCA) complete the marketing roster.

"What Smith has done is reassemble the integrated marketing team responsible for branding Song, and that includes DKC, SS&K, and CCA," said DKC president Sean Cassidy.

Cassidy noted that, after May 1, Delta passengers will see flight attendants in uniforms by designer Richard Tyler. He added that Delta would follow Song's lead on incorporating entertainment and style into the brand.

Song was best known for gourmet food and in-flight entertainment. Flight attendants wore uniforms by DKC client Kate Spade. "We were not only responsible for publicity around the launch, but also with the integration of our clients into the Song portfolio," said Cassidy.

Delta has also reached a tentative agreement with its pilots union, which had been threatening a strike. Delta has been looking to cut $1.9 billion in operating costs, including $305 million in annual pay cuts for pilots.

Along with pilot communications, the union is telling consumers that "pilots still fly professionally and safely, and continue to do the job they were hired for," said Kelly Collins, senior communications specialist for the Air Line Pilot Association.

Anthony Black, senior manager of media relations at Delta, noted that the airline has a similar business-as-usual message.

"We've always told our passengers that they could book with confidence," he said. "Having reached the tentative agreement, the message is no different."

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