Pan-Am's ad for poseur cowboys

This Pan-Am ad from 1983 really grabbed my attention with an oddly disharmonious message: first you have the cowboy, sleeping with his hat over his eyes, a symbol of ruggedness and the ability to relax and sleep anywhere, out on the range under a cactus. But then you have the ad's USP: "Delta has spacious, comfortable seats." Do cowboys really value comfort? Isn't that a little citified? You know: "The chores! The stores! Fresh air! Times Square!" Or "East is east and west is west and the wrong one I have chose."

Ah, but the cowboy is wearing a suit. He's not a cowboy, he's a poseur, a nouveau riche oilman who likes to play pretend-cowboy as he jets from one five-star suite to the next. He doesn't clear brush on his ranch, he hires real roughnecks to do that, because otherwise he'd ruin his fancy manicure. So the value proposition here comes down to: Fly Pan-Am, it's the airline for insecure fake cowboys who have too much money.


Contest Entry: Pan Am, "FIRST In Space", 1983