Mumbai: After having removed a row of seats from some of its planes to increase overall leg room for passengers, Jet Airways (India) Ltd is using an innovative, three-dimensional billboard campaign to sell the concept.

Developed by Mudra Group’s outdoor unit Primesite, the Mumbai billboards have images of two chairs sitting close to each other, and then one drifting on railings to reveal the message: “We’ve removed a row to give you more space."

The row of seats has been done away with in Jet’s 737-800s series planes. Removal of rows to create space for cramped passengers isn’t a new idea as many airlines, especially in the US, have used similar tactics and messages to differentiate their planes from rivals. Several other companies, such as auto makers (with sections of cars) and even coffee companies (Bru used chairs and tables) have used three-dimensional billboards to stand out.

Big picture: A Jet Airways hoarding in Mumbai. The company is a large user of outdoor media and is believed to spend Rs10-Rs12 crore a year, some 20% of the airline’s marketing spend.

Sanjeev Hajela, president, Primesite, says the campaign has a budget of Rs55-60 lakh. Jet is a large user of outdoor media and is believed to spend as much as Rs10-Rs12 crore a year, some 20% of the airline’s marketing spend. Jet Airways was one of the early entrants in the aviation business, as also the first private airline to fly to overseas destinations and had a relatively simple creative message: “Jet Flies to 44 Domestic and 8 International Destinations".

Notes Jagdeep Kapoor, managing director of Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd: “Earlier, the positioning of the Jet brand was such that it reflected aspirational value. It was an aspired brand while all the rest were tired and perspired brands. Today it’s different. They have found a competitor in their own league in form of Kingfisher. There is a switch taking place, with some customers shifting loyalties to Kingfisher."

He classifies Jet’s growth in terms of three Ss: Sustenance, Service and the need to (Speed Up). “In spite of not being the first entrant in the aviation space, the Jet brand grew steadily, sustained and survived. Later on, Jet grew to be the best premium brand in the whole country by highlighting the service aspect. In service, they were unparalleled and premium. Today, its different and Jet needs to speed up. They need to aggressively build themselves as a brand, and advertise themselves like a consumer brand if they need to beat Kingfisher."