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 a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
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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