A simple way of airlines differentiating themselves from the onslaught of low cost carriers or their competitors is by showcasing their premium cabins, but as I look back on some of my favourite airline-related videos, I realize there is more to that than just simple advertising. Creating memorable flight experiences can truly differentiate the premium carriers from low cost carriers as these airlines have shown.
Cathay Pacific’s Studio CX opening
This video starts before every inflight programme and it is always a welcoming tune as I know I will be treated to high-resolution clear videos on a wide range of inflight entertainment. In fact, I started watching some serials like CSI and Hawaii Five-O after watching some episodes on my flights with Cathay Pacific.
Last year, Cathay Pacific also did a huge advertising campaign revolving around their flight crew, which I thought was also memorable enough. I find Cathay Pacific chooses some really nice music that truly enhances the flight experience. Cathay Pacific is one of the airlines that showcases its strengths in their advertisements by providing that link between passengers and crew. This creates an ambience of familiarity that makes it easy for frequent flyers to call ‘home’. Ambience is something that cannot be replicated easily, as companies like Starbucks have shown.
Singapore Airlines KrisWorld Advertisement
This commercial was shown to promote the world’s first inflight entertainment on demand and that even applies to Economy Class passengers. I was probably too young to decide the airline I would take for my travelling then but it etched in my memory of how great Singapore Airline was as an airline! Which is probably why in my mind they are still the best airline in the industry, unsurpassed by none. This shows the importance of even marketing to people who are not decision makers but probably would be one in the future. BMW did the same thing with the BMW Films series in the late 90s.
If you think their video commercial was great, take a look at their print advertising which looks splendid. In Singapore, I remember them publishing full page advertisements on the national daily to showcase their new cabins which really looked fantastic and made me aim to sit on First Class one day!
Turkish Airlines Advertisement feat. Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi
Actually before it featured this super-star duo, they had another one featuring the Manchester United team. While they might not be the most famous faces amongst Canadians, they are probably the most recognizable athletes on routes Turkish Airlines flies to. And I particularly enjoy this advertisement for the humour, with it again making Turkish Airlines an airline I would like to fly someday, so this marketing does work. And frankly, show such commercials on TV and I will make sure to watch them!
Turkish Airlines have adopted the use of well-known personalities but still manages to show that service revolves around every passenger rather than just VIPs, with an ending message of how the world’s best fly with them! As a classic, it always works by getting spokesperson to endorse your products, like what Nike does in early 90s.
Qantas Spirit of Australia Advertisement
My enjoyable flights on Qantas prompted me to search for this advertisement and these advertisement shows how closely interlinked an airline identity can have with a nation. There is perhaps no other airline in this world whose identity are as linked as Qantas and Australia. Not even Singapore Airlines markets itself so closely with Singapore. This can be a double edged sword since it might alienate certain travellers who are not Australians but definitely can incite nationalistic pride when flying on the national carrier overseas. Though with the recent negative news around Qantas, I have to say it is more negative than positive. Even though, I really liked the series of videos Qantas made for this promotion, maybe the Australia Tourism Board can re-use some of the concepts to market Australia as a tourist destination!
Air New Zealand Safety Videos
And finally, who can forget the airline that gave us some of the best safety videos on ‘Middle’ Earth. In conjunction with the release of the movie ‘The Hobbits’, Air NZ created a nifty safety video that is wonderful to watch. After all budget airlines use dance moves to attract attention, and if only more airlines create such wonderful safety videos, I am sure more passengers will pay attention to them. Before the ‘Lord of the Rings’ version, Air New Zealand has already created many creative safety videos for passengers’ viewing pleasure.
While these safety videos might seem out of place in some airlines like JAL or United, Air New Zealand is an airline that adopts creativity in its culture with their ‘Premium Economy’ class and even innovative ideas like the ‘Skycouch’ for couples travelling together. Thus the culture fit with your other products/services must be consistent for any ideas to work successfully.