Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

I'm not sure ad campaigns make much difference to people's choice of airlines.

This is largely because people don't have much choice of airlines.

It's not as if 10 or 12 airlines are vying for your business on every route.

So you just shut your eyes and hope it will be over soon.

Coincidentally, American Airlines has just released a new ad campaign.

Instead of telling you how great the airline is -- well, that was unlikely to go over too well in the current world -- it's decided to focus on you.

Specifically, it's decided to focus on your attitude.

A TV ad explains that so-called world's greatest flyers "know their mood contributes to the mood of the flight."

Well, yes. If a flight's been delayed three hours or there's less legroom than would suit a gerbil, it's likely that their mood won't be good.

I don't suppose the mood of miserable, stressed cabin crew might affect the mood of the passengers and therefore of the flight too, might it?

Apparently "great flyers always ask before they raise or lower the window shade."

That's if a cabin crew member hasn't hissed at them already to raise or lower it.

This is, naturally, all set to soothing music.

Because playing soothing music in an ad will make you feel soothed when you fly American.

But this campaign is more than just a TV ad. There are print ads too.

One, as the New York Times reports, declares that: "Always upbeat, great fliers make the best of their situation no matter where they're sitting."

Perhaps you, like me, are a touch stupefied by this claim.

Perhaps you, like me, hear: "Look, we know it's horrible in our planes, especially in coach. But can't you people just grin and bear it because you know and we know that there's nothing we're going to do to make it better?"

But no. That's now what American hears at all.

Jen Adams, the company's managing director of marketing, told the Dallas Morning News: "It really is meant to be aspirational in nature, to bring back that human element of flying and focus on a common mindset that we've seen among our customers and employees."

The aspiration known as: I hope this flight isn't as terrible as I fear it might be? The common mindset known as This is quite unpleasant for all of us, isn't it?

Of course not. This mindset, according to Adams, is "really focused on kindness on the ground and in the air."

Some might agree that a little politeness in planes is sadly missing.

They might also agree, however, that this is partly because conditions in these planes is steadily getting worse.

Still, Ralph Watson, the creative director whose ad agency made the ads insisted to the Times that "All we're doing is identifying their behaviors. We're not saying, 'You should."

Ah. Oh. Is he sure?

It's quite a message to ask customers to think about behaving better when the airlines merrily nickel, dime and gorge themselves on ever greater profits.

I'm sure, though, that the next time I'm on an American flight I'll see an extraordinary difference in the behavior of both passengers and cabin crew.

I'm also sure that when we're at 33,000 feet, I'll look out the window and not only see a cow performing a polka on the moon with a moose, but also the smiling faces of other happy and polite American Airlines passengers flying in the opposite direction.

Aug 29, 2016