Epic Fail: Pakistan International Airlines 1979 NYC Ad Campaign

Do you ever look at an old advertisement and shake your head, knowing that while harmless at the time the ad has taken on a new meaning in light of changing events? Pakistan International Airlines must have had one of those moments when they examined their 1979 ad campaign touting the carrier's service to New York City.

On April 4, 1973 the World Trade Center Complex opened in Lower Manhattan. On September 11, 2001, much of it was destroyed in a terrorist attack using hijacked commercial jetliners as missiles. Over 2,000 lives were lost and the landmark structure still has not been fully rebuilt.

But go back to 1979--the complex was six years old and already a New York landmark (though the Sears Tower had eclipsed it already in holding the tallest building in the world title). The WTC was like the Empire State Building or Statute of Liberty, so very New York. And PIA seized on that to create this ad:


Ah yeah, about that ad...don't think we'll be resurrecting that campaign anytime soon...

No particular reason for me to post this other than it is a bit shocking, considering 9/11 terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden reportedly hung out in the mountainous region of Pakistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and was killed outside Islamabad last year by U.S. Navy Seals.

But lest you cry foul, there is no evidence to indicate Pakistan had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks. The terrorists who hijacked U.S. jetliners were all Saudis. And I hear good things about PIA--in fact, I'd love to try their Chicago-Barcelona service.

But being an airline ad, I just had to share this with you. The only thing it is missing is COdbaUA's "You're Going to Like Where We Land" tag line...


David Duggan August 22, 2013 at 07:34 am

Though the authenticity of this ad has not been confirm it seems to be limited to this one magazine as a regional ad. Which probable mean it was cleared by a lower PIA exec. But still a person working for a CIA type unit in Pakistani intelligence like the one featured in Three Days of the Condor and of course expanded by the movie It's A Beautiful Mind this ad could have been clipped and forwarded to certain person who ran the idea by others. Back in 1995 I saw a Glenn Ford movie Evening in Byzantium (1978) in which Jetliners were to be used as guided bombs to attack US targets. Movies like Suddenly and The Manchurian Candidate could easily be said to have been used as the impetus for the JFK assassination but assassinations are nothing new. But still this ad gives one pause.

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