Presenting the Losers

A 1967 ad campaign for Eastern Airlines.

Of course, I'm pretty sure all the women in the ad were actually models/actresses. So in their true profession they were winners of a spot in the campaign. Most notably, that's Ali MacGraw sitting in the front row.

Time - Sep 29, 1967

Some analysis by Kathleen Barry in Femininity in Flight: A History of Flight Attendants

Since the 1930s stewardesses had been ubiquitous in airline advertising. But by the 1960s they carried even more figurative weight as the embodiments of airlines' mass-marketed personalities. Gone were generic references to friendly staff alongside offers of specific services and amenities; in came promises of a hand-picked servant for every passenger. An advertisement for Eastern from 1967, for instance, titled "Presenting the Losers," pictured a group of nineteen applicants whom the carrier had rejected for stewardess positions. The attractive, slender, and well-groomed "losers" were distinguishable from "winners" only by their frowns and lack of airline univorms. The text explained that they "were probably good enough to get a job practically anywhere they want," but that because of its high standards of appearance, intelligence, and personality, Eastern turned down nineteen desirable candidates for every exemplary one hired. With mock defensiveness, the ad read, "Sure, we want her to be pretty... don't you? That's why we look at her face, her make-up, her complexion, her figure, her weight, her legs, her grooming, her nails and her hair." In addition, Eastern boasted, it screened each applicant for "her personality, her maturity, her intelligence, her intentions, her enthusiasm, her resiliency and her stamina." With such an exhaustive list of qualifications, readers may have marveled (or doubted) that women so wondrous existed, let alone would serve them on Eastern.

     Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 26, 2021
     Category: Advertising | Air Travel and Airlines | 1960s

I've had to make hiring/firing decisions at a couple of companies I've worked for, and it's never easy to harden yourself to always put the business first. You'd really have to be a soulless git to look someone in the eye and say: "We don't want you here, but we'll give you a one-day gig on a photoshoot so we can showcase our rejects."
Posted by Phideaux on 07/26/21 at 10:55 AM
I was going to say something flip about this is what you get when you hire a former astronaut to run your company, but after looking up the history of Eastern, (which doesn't exist anymore) I didn't realize how cutthroat the business can be.
Posted by KDP on 07/26/21 at 11:09 AM
Interesting that they presumed that their customers chose which airline to fly on based on the hotness of its flight attendants.
Posted by Brian on 07/26/21 at 03:30 PM
Posted by Stan on 07/27/21 at 12:22 PM
That's Ali McGraw down front.
Posted by FRANK on 07/27/21 at 01:05 PM
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