Creative leaders have criticised Qantas' 'You're The Reason We Fly' tagline after discovering it was the exact same wording used by the now-defunct Carnival Airlines in the USA.
Carnival Airlines, which was the air division of Carnival Cruise Lines and has since shut down, also used the tagline 'You're The Reason We Fly' on its marketing.
While creative leaders have not suggested Qantas plagiarised the positioning, they have chastised the company for using a “generic” statement that could have been used before, and for “not doing their homework”.
McCann executive creative director John Mescall told AdNews: “It's not surprising this has happened because it is such a generic motherhood statement. This is laziness not plagiarism.
“If you come up with a positioning, you Google the shit out of it, and not just the first couple of pages. Someone clearly didn't do that. It's unfortunate but they didn't do their homework.”
Meanwhile, CumminsRoss chief executive Sean Cummins said: “This is a major faux pas. If we live in a world where generic statements can be stuck under Qantas or Delta or an y airline, it's not right for the brand. Qantas is an Australian brand, and to make a generic statement that has been used elsewhere overseas shows a shallow pool and intellect and creative grunt. It's very sad.
“The brand should be saying something no one else can say, something which can only be said by Qantas. It's a shame and a disappointment. The agency and client should realise they have a very powerful brand, which is more bespoke than a generic statement. I wouldn't accuse them of plagiarism but by creating a generic line it creates the possibility someone has used it before.”
However, branding expert Dominic Walsh, who is managing director of Landor Associates, had a different opinion.
“It's not necessarily a big deal. In many cases its not uncommon for brands in the same category to come to a similar idea. What Qantas has done seemed like an obvious evolution, regardless of what Carnival did.”
A Qantas spokesperson told AdNews: "When we were developing the campaign, we didn't know about this. However, before the launch we found out about it, and because the company didn't market in Australia we didn't think it was a conflict of interest."