My friend Sergio Mello, of the Satisfly fame, shared with me a very fascinating story of a legacy carrier not acting in a legacy way. And I couldn’t help but write about it here.

Flying is fun this summer!

Asiana Airlines, out of South Korea, is going to offer a very different in-flight experience to its passengers this summer. The in-flight crew on 52 flights will be dressed up as pirates and serve passengers colorful exotic drinks.

There will be eight different teams, providing in-flight entertainment with a difference. These teams will perform magic tricks, tell the future using Tarrot cards, draw passengers’ caricatures and even conduct an on-board fashion show with traditional costumes from popular holiday destinations.

But my favorite is that interested passengers can even “exeprience the life of a flight attendant”. I’m sure that’s going to be popular. Children will get a special treatment too. They’ll enjoy everything from face paint to origami sessions!

The in-flight experience differentiator

When I designed the 6X airline branding model, the basic tenet behind “Brand eXperience” was the fact that airlines, unlike most other brands, have a unique advantage of holding their target audience captive for two to twenty-two hours! My brand interaction with a Coke can is five minutes. With Starbucks coffee is about 30 mins.

And this presents a unique opportunity for the airline to impress the customer and treat him like a VIP. Few airlines have leveraged on this, namely Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Volaris Mexico. Fortunately, Asiana has stepped into this club, by enhancing the in-flight experience, even if for the summer.

My gut-feeling is that this effort by the airline will be a roaring success, and they will retain all, if not most, of these special in-flight activities. So much more fun than staring into the galley, when you’re done watching movies on the small screen. The next thing Asiana should be thinking about how to get all these efforts viewable to millions online!

There couldn’t have been a better testimony of the fact that an airline brand is what it does, not what it says it does.

So, what do you think about Asiana’s initiative? Isn’t it a refreshing effort? Why aren’t other airlines doing something like this? Let’s discuss in the comments or over on Twitter (@simpliflying)

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  • http://www.twitter.com/froussel Frederick Roussel

    Interesting stunt but I do not believe it will do any long term good. It may be a good summer marketing stunt that will attract some free media but not much more.

    It is not a sustainable brand building initiative. To be an effective brand building initiative the stunt must be in sync with the key success factor of the airline industry or the core attribute to this brand. Otherwise, like this stunt, it lacks core relevance. It feels empty. I agree with you that the audience is captive and that we all want to be treated like a VIP. The only good I see of this stunt is that it will force the crew to interact with the passenger. This extra attention will be most appreciated. But, they do not need to do a magic show for that…

    • http://simpliflying.com Shashank Nigam

      @Frederick: You’re probably right that this “stunt” wouldn’t last in its totality for a very long time. However, I don’t believe it’s hollow or lacks relevance. In fact, I feel it’s very relevant, since instead of some boastful advertisements or PR, Asiana is spending their dollars where it matters the most – the in-flight experience. And it’s exactly the point you make – enhanced interaction with the passenger – which has the potential to do wonders for the brand.

      Travelers are so used to anxiety when flying these days, be it airport security or having flight attendants bark out instructions, that this will come as a refreshing change. A pleasant in-flight experience can make a flight memorable, and make people want to come back. Don’t you think?

  • http://www.twitter.com/froussel Frederick Roussel

    I think you are right. Investing in-flight is the right thing to do. It makes the flight a more pleasant experience and therefore increases the quality of the product. It also gives the passagers something to talk about with their friends. With the growth of social media this can become viral news. So, this initiative can increase the value of the product AND will be great marketing. Smart. But… pirates… come on!

  • Pingback: Tripulación pirata | Viajes low cost()

  • http://www.jrconsumer.com/ Fifth Wheels

    cute asians…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZjOkzpwOKI Canvas Stretching Machine

    are those sushi?

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