By Shashank Nigam

Through some slick content marketing efforts led by social media, Emirates has leapfrogged competition in just a month. Instead of just promoting routes or showing pretty photos of their A380s – stuff that every other airline does – Emirates has put the creative hat on, and surprised and delighted people around the world recently. The unpredictable, fresh content is setting the airline apart from its Middle East competitors, and legacy airlines in general. This used to be the realm of the Southwests and Air New Zealands of the world. Welcome to the club, Emirates.

Emirates Airbus A380 and Jetman Dubai formation flight

You’ve probably dreamt about flying like an airplane. But have you ever imagined flying next to a plane? Emirates and Jetman Dubai partnered to do just that. Two men, with jetpacks attached to their backs, flew in tandem with an A380. The whole stunt was so well choreographed that it left aviation experts in awe. Most were left wondering, “how did they avoid the wake, or getting sucked into the engines?” The videos on Facebook and YouTube are inching toward a million total views in just over a day. Others, like Airbus, have previously filmed tandem flights, but nothing beats two men flying next to an A380.

The timing couldn’t have been better. This comes just a couple of days before the Dubai Air Show – and the Emirates marketing team seems to have stolen the show just as the world’s aviation top honchos descend upon the city. Here’s a look at the jaw-dropping video of the Emirates Airbus A380 and Jetman Dubai formation flight. The behind-the-scenes video is just as fun.

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Benefica safety video with Emirates

Just a week ago, Emirates’ crew demonstrated a new version of the “safety video” Live in front of 65,000 Benfica fans, with a twist – it wasn’t about the flight, but about the soccer match they were about to watch. The video of this demo has garnered well over a million views since it was posted – raising awareness about the airline’s flights to Lisbon. You probably won’t see the video on your next flight, but it sure did light up the faces of those in the stadium, and those watching online.

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30 planes for 30 years

A couple of weeks back, Emirates turned 30 years old – quite amazing how they have become the largest international airline in the world in a short span. To celebrate, the Emirates marketing machine partnered with Mike Kelley, who gained fame for spending 8hrs at LAX straight, to create a famous composition of every airplane taking off. ‘Emirates30’ (used as the cover image for this article) captured 30 Emirates aircraft departing Dubai International during the 7am departure wave, in one composite image. It showed the growing stature of the airline, in a very different light.

Jennifer Aniston mocks other airlines

After watching the latest efforts by the Emirates marketing team, the Jennifer Aniston spot, in hindsight, feels the “most normal” of all. But interestingly, it was anything but. The advertisement featuring the Friends star relied on an emotion seldom tapped well in marketing – anger. In the spot, she is furious that there’s no shower and no bar on the flight. Ultimately, she realized that it was just a nightmare, and she’s indeed on an Emirates flight with these amenities. The video has almost five million views on YouTube.

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All these efforts are in addition to their two A380s painted in special livery to promote the anti-poaching message for United For Wildlife, their long-running #BeingThere that showcases crew in different parts of the world and their active sports sponsorship activities like the Rugby World Cup.

The Emirates integrated marketing team, including advertising and events/sponsorship, has given us a glance of what they are capable of. Let’s hope that this is just a glimpse of what is coming our way from Emirates in the future. Kudos to their recent efforts.

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
Shashank Nigam
CATEGORISED UNDER: Brand Xpectation, Commentary, Engagement

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  • If I am not mistaken, shooting was possible with the assistance of Aerovision Air to Air Image, a french company leader in aerial views. http://www.aerovision.fr/air-to-air-images/

  • Adam

    It seems like there is a battle going on between their branding agency and the internal marketing team. Careful brand building versus brash stunts. They are pushing out very different messages (the curated one they spent 10s of millions to create. Are they abandoning it already in favour of short term high impact publicity?). One is very global and one is very Dubai. I feel like they need to figure out what approach they want to take and stick to it. Be interesting to see who wins out.

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