When your brand’s bad service becomes a narrative device

Posted by Rob Walker on May 27, 2008
Posted Under: Backlashing,Involuntary branding

The Wall Street Journal today has a review of a novel called Dear American Airlines, written by Jonathan Miles. The novel takes the form of an “angry” 180-page letter, composed by “a 53-year-old failed poet and former alcoholic,” stranded at O’Hare because of a flight cancellation that could make him miss his daughter’s wedding.

While anger at the carrier isn’t the book’s plot, but rather (from the sound of it) a narrative device used to draw a portrait of the letter-writer, the timing is pretty amusing, given mounting consumer hostility to airlines in general, and possibly to American in particular since it made news by announcing a fee on checked luggage. (Update: Ad Age on American Airlines backlashing.)

So I’m sure American can’t be too excited about this, and I wonder: Do you have to get permission to use a real company’s name in the title of a novel?

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments


Titles cannot be copyrighted, so I would imagine that places them in the public domain, which would lead me to believe that you do not need permission to use a real company’s name in the title of a book.

– But then again, I have been spectacularly wrong before, and am likely to be so in the future.

Written By Zeke on May 27th, 2008 @ 9:57 am
Next Post: