Travel Agents

Flight Centre reveals story behind ‘bobblehead Tom’ after ad roasted online

Social media users have mocked a Flight Centre sign featuring a pilot with a disproportionately large head fixed to a regular-sized body.

The travel agency’s advert depicts senior employee Tom Walley in a pilot’s uniform, but his head, as you can see below, is a bit large.

Even though the image has been around for a year, it popped up as a point of discussion on Reddit this week.

Flight Centre ‘Bobblehead’ (Reddit)

As people typically do on Reddit, users threw out wild speculations, this time about why the image looks as it does. Some believed it to be a graphic design mistake and others thought the company just stuck a sticker atop an existing image.

Many joked that the enlarged head reminded them of the Family Guy character Glenn Quagmire.

“It’s on purpose. Now it’s on social media being spread around for free,” one user wrote.

“Completely intentional. FREE advertising by people sharing it on social media. Clever.”

Others speculated that the reasoning was more complex.

“The contract expired with the guy whose head was used previously. They didn’t renew the contract and instead stuck a sticker of the GM’s head on instead,” one person claimed.

One Redditor claimed to be a Flight Centre employee when the image hit the stores.

“About a year ago they changed ‘The Captain’ to one of the higher-ups in the company ‘Walley’,” they said.

“I figure it’s easier to have it be a bonus paid to him rather than continuing to pay an actor to fill the role. To that point, it would certainly be easier to put a sticker on the stand rather than re-make the stands for every store.”

But the travel agency came to put the rumours to rest earlier this week, revealing the story behind the ‘bobblehead’ image.

According to News.com.au, employees at Flight Centre call the image ‘bobblehead Tom,’

“A big-headed captain means he has more airfare and deals knowledge than anyone else,” the spokesman joked, adding it was fun and cost-effective.

“COVID gave us an opportunity to freshen the brand in unique ways while we had no money to spend.”

Walley was chosen to be the Flight Centre brand’s ‘main captain,’ to feature in promotional material alongside a crew of his fellow employees, who posed as co-captains.

The brand’s tagline was changed from “Best in the air, and everywhere,” to the new “Experience our experience.”



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