Kingfisher Airlines Campaign | Different, yes, but will it work?

Kingfisher Airlines Campaign | Different, yes, but will it work?
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First Published: Mon, May 04 2009. 08 43 PM IST

Updated: Mon, May 04 2009. 08 43 PM IST
Company: Kingfisher Airlines Ltd
Brand: Kingfisher Airlines
Campaign:Why fly low-cost carriers?ads on outdoor and digital media
Target audience: Private and corporate air travellers
Agency: Rediffusion Y&R
What they did: Kingfisher Airlines Ltd launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign using primarily non-traditional platforms such as outdoor and digital media to woo passengers travelling in low-cost carriers, or LCCs.
“Due to the current market conditions a lot of people, who were earlier flying Kingfisher, started downgrading to low-cost carriers and by doing so, these people were letting go of the comforts that come with a full-service airline,” says Nisha Singhania, executive vice-president, Rediffusion Y&R Pvt. Ltd, the creative agency behind the campaign. “So the company wanted to highlight this point and win back its consumer base.”
How they did it: Kingfisher Airlines briefed the agency on what it wanted the campaign to achieve in the beginning of April, based on consumer insights that pointed out why passengers make the switch from full-service carriers to low-cost ones and their experiences in both.
The agency created an advertising campaign similar to that of LCC IndiGo Airlines, where the left side of the ad usually includes a witty message against a blue background and the corresponding side has the IndiGo brand name and logo.
The Kingfisher Airlines campaign is text-oriented, based on a similar blue background but on the left side, the message imprinted takes a jab at the passenger experience on an LCC. On the right side, which has the red Kingfisher colour, the advantage of flying this airline comes through. For example, in one such ad, the left side says “Indi-fferent”, while the right side says “Different”. This is followed by “Why fly low-cost carriers? Fly Kingfisher”.
The company and the agency refuse to accept that the ads take potshots at rivals. “There’s nothing deliberate about it and it’s not a take on any rival airline,” says Singhania. “Kingfisher has always had a tongue-in-cheek and aggressive way of taking its message forward.”
The airline declined to comment on the campaign. The results: Since the campaign was launched only in the third week of April, it is too early to comment on the outcome.
The media plan for the campaign includes hoardings in the top 16 cities in strategic high-traffic areas, an 8x8 LED display screen at Marine Drive in Mumbai to run a flash film of the creative work for a month, branding on Meru cabs—a cab service mostly used by firms for airport services, and LCD TV display screens placed in malls, restaurants and multiplexes.
What the experts say: Anand Halve, co-founder, Chlorophyll Brand and Communications Consultancy Pvt. Ltd, believes that Kingfisher Airlines may have “hit an air pocket” with this ad. “When they ask the question, ‘Why fly low-cost carriers?’, the reader is likely to answer, ‘because they are lower-priced, silly’,” he says.
“The reason why this approach is likely to prompt such a smart-alec response is that the message itself is being ‘oh so smart’, with its punning—‘indi-gnity’ and ‘go degraded’,” he says. As for the problems the message points out—indignity, degraded, among others—he says the biggest problems, such as crowded departure lounges, delayed take-offs or flight congestion, are outside any airlines’ ability to fix, including Kingfisher.
“To put it simply, you don’t get into a challenge contest unless you are totally and clearly superior. And the truth of the tough times today tells us that people would rather save money than pay extra ‘for the good times’,” says Halve.
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First Published: Mon, May 04 2009. 08 43 PM IST