Airline turns to agency after campaign disaster

A two-month long fly and win campaign by Air Arabia has been branded a “total disaster” by a senior executive from the budget airline.

  • E-Mail
By  Tim Addington Published  September 18, 2005

A two-month long fly and win campaign by Air Arabia has been branded a “total disaster” by a senior executive from the budget airline. Speaking at the Middle East and North Africa AirFinance Conference, Don Hubbard, director of finance at the Sharjah-based carrier, said the promotion, which started in February, placed too much emphasis on the prizes rather than the prices. Passengers who flew with the airline during the competition were entered into a weekly raffle to win three prizes of AED10,000 (US$2,724) or one of two unlimited travel passes and a grand prize of AED100,000 (US$27,247). Hubbard also said that the prizes were not sufficient compared to the standard of prizes on offer in the UAE. As a result, there was little interest in the competition. The airline has since called in ad agency Face to Face to help give the airline a more distinctive look. Face to Face has created Smart Traveller, a character who looks similar to those on the hit TV show South Park. But Duncan Osborne, head of marketing at Air Arabia, said it was a “pure accident”. “There is some similarity between what we have created,” he said. “There has been some comment about that and we have taken it quite seriously and looked at it from a legal perspective, and yes, we need to have some discussions, but we are quite clear and quite confident that this is very different. “I quite understand that there is some influence there, but there is no way that we have any association with what South Park stands for, as ours is very much about Middle Eastern culture, and the humour and the passion and the family-centric passions within our organisation.” Face to Face says that, while the character was inspired by the South Park animation style, the legal position is that, while characters can be copyrighted, animation styles cannot. Osborne, who has recently arrived at the airline, said it was “obvious” that the company needed to project its personality to consumers. “There was an inherent personality within our organisation, but that wasn’t coming through in the communications platform. We wanted to create something that stood out, something that we could all be proud of. From there we started to look at a caricature and it developed from the very earliest stages into this Smart Traveller.” The company will also be focussing its advertising on direct marketing activities.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code