Kulula.com lures South Africans with authentic advertising

Kulula.comImage by Steve Crane via Flickr

Simple and sincere expectation setting can go a long way in inspiring new customers to try a new airline. Kulula.com was the first low cost carrier in South Africa, starting operations in 2001. Since the beginning, it has captured the hearts and minds of South African travelers by bringing out the authenticity of the brand and then living up to their word. Kulula means “easily” in the Zulu language and its advertisements are known for their quirky, almost slapstick-type humor, which never show an aircraft or air hostess. They focus on local flavor and humor, showcasing real people, with whom their customers can relate to.

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TV viewers and billboard gazers have been treated to images of South Africans from all walks of life dressed up like kulula.com “fans,” complete with capes and propeller beanies, ready to take to the skies. Most of these ads feature the kinds of people who are the absolute antithesis of the jet set: the mishmash of sorts one might see waiting for a bus or shopping at Walmart. Through these, most South Africans saw an honest representation of themselves, and logged on to book tickets that were substantially cheaper than those offered by the incumbent South African Airways.  Within a year, kulula.com had become the country’s biggest online retailer and still holds the position.

Kulula.com set expectations showcasing their brand personality in the earnest. Those who could relate to it felt that they were buying something that says something about them. They were being a “rebel” and “anti-establishment” by flying with Kulula.com.

This article is an excerpt case study from the airline branding white paper, If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your friends. You can also get free updates by email or RSS.
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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying and a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought-leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior aviation executives globally, from Chile to Canada and from Sydney to San Francisco. Shashank's perspectives have found their way into major media outlets, including CNN Travel, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg UTV, Mashable and in leading publications like Airline Business, ATW, Aviation Week, and others. Shashank studied Information Systems Management and Business Management at Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hailing from India, he splits his time between Singapore and Vancouver, among other cities.
Shashank Nigam
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Showing 3 comments
  • coco1212
    Reply

    I like this ad, it's short, funny and it gets the message across: if packing is the hardest part of your trip, then the flight will be a breeze. Easy saver encore marketing also featured a funny airline ad, just when you think you've seen all the possible airplane ads, human creativity is amazing!

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