2009-09-02 / Front Page

American Airlines Investigates Hammy Squirrel


With the “scene-stealing squirrel” phenomenon sweeping the digital world, American Airlines is determining whether the rodent is, in fact, the same squirrel that appeared in its recent TV commercial, “The Producer”, about a globe-trotting film crew seeking just the right location to satisfy a temperamental director.

American hired what was believed to be a professional squirrel actor for its latest television commercial. The ad, which promotes the airline’s International Business Class, features a harried producer and high-maintenance director who finally settle on Buenos Aires–or maybe China–as the location for shooting a film starring a scooter-riding (presumably French) squirrel. The TV spot, which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/AAProducer, is part of a flight of American Airlines advertising that will air beginning in September.

“When the squirrel arrived on the set for filming he appeared to be very professional, although there were signs that he might be a bit of a publicity hound–well, rodent,” American Airlines Executive Vice President–Marketing Dan Garton said. “Still, there was no indication that he was planning to use American Airlines as a springboard to launch a new phase in his career. With his sudden rise to stardom, American is now exploring the possibility that it was, in fact, the scene-stealing squirrel who appeared in our commercial.”
The squirrel made his first appearance when he popped into the viewfinder of a couple vacationing in Canada’s Banff National Park. The star-struck rodent quickly became an Internet sensation, turning up in photos with everyone from The Beatles to Tiger Woods. To see for yourself if “The Producer” squirrel looks like the one that invaded the couple’s photograph, visit http://bit.ly/AAProducer.

According to Garton, the ad was created by American’s long-time advertising agency of record, TM Advertising.

“We’re not sure of the actual nationality of said squirrel-not sure whether he’s French at all. We hired him through his agent in LA,” TM Advertising Executive Creative Director Bill Oakley said. “Since he popped up in Banff, maybe he’s Canadian.”

Garton confirmed that American is in the process of making inquiries with the squirrel’s agent, and may consider using the critter again to promote the airline. “If our hunch proves to be true, we do have to consider that the little fellow chose American Airlines–and he’s certainly versatile, which is an important quality in a, uh, character actor,” he said of the possible new spokes-squirrel. “Plus, his agent says he’ll work for warm mixed nuts.”
“The Producer” will air during the next flight of American Airlines advertising on national cable networks and locally in selected U.S. markets beginning September 28.

In honor of this scene-stealing squirrel, American is announcing an online photo contest where “squirrel photographers” can send their best furry (but not blurry) images of AA or featuring AA destinations for a chance to win two round-trip domestic coach tickets. American has “squirrelized” a few of its own images to give folks ideas. Visit http://bit.ly/AAFlickrSquirrel.

American Airlines, American Eagle and AmericanConnection® serve 250 cities in 40 countries with, on average, more than 3,400 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 900 aircraft. American's award-winning Web site, AA.com®, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld® Alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members serve nearly 700 destinations in more than 130 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, AA.com, We know why you fly and AAdvantage are registered trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: AMR)

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