From Ben, Virgin America released a clever new ad campaign featuring two twins flying on identical routes, one on Virgin, the other on a competitor, then comparing notes after the flight.
Watch the videos below and see if you notice the same thing I do:
Yes, the videos are amusing and do nicely show that Virgin America offers amenities some of its competitors do not, like wi-fi internet onboard, advanced AVOD, mood lighting, and the ability to order meals throughout the flight from your seat.
But the videos were misleading–Virgin did not see fit to mention that all those great amenities like the food, movies, and internet come at a price. I’d say that is rather important to mention. Second, all three commercials just seemed too scripted. Flying other carriers may not be glamorous, but they made it sound like the non-Virgin flights were horrible. That’s not the case on most days and I find it a bit hard to believe that the IFE happened to be inoperable and the food happened to run out on the competitor flights. It could have, but I don’t believe it.
My favorite commercials remain United’s brilliant and aspirational “It’s Time to Fly” campaign. I just love this commercial:
Why are these commercials like three minutes long? Where could they possibly be airing?
I will absolutely disagree with you here, Matthew, re: United’s old commercials. I hated them. I want the “new” United to focus on the REAL product, as in showing the actual lie-flat business seats.
I have this whole storyboard in my head and it concludes with “NITE” after showing someone blanketing up and going to sleep in a lie-flat business class seat. United’s logo in caps appears first, but the “NITE” remains and is highlighted at the end.
I don’t like cartoons, I don’t like that airlines showcase something other that what you’re buying. United has a fantastic IPTE hard product internationally and they need to start advertising it. Argh!
My marketing minor is getting the better of me, so I’m sorry. Airlines need to advertise what they REALLY offer… not some rendition or “story” of how it’s more convenient.
P.S., a GREAT commercial that advertises the actual product is the Turkish Air one from about six (or more) months ago… with the soccer players. Yes, it was a little cheesy with them “playing ball” in the cabin, buy you SAW what to expect in the air.
Show me the product and I’ll be more apt to buy it.
Darren, Darren! We just don’t see eye to eye on this issue.
Sure, it is nice to show off UA’s premium product, but there is a place for the “It’s Time to Fly” campaign. Why? Because the commercial I posted above makes me smile and it make me think–about my experiences on United and life itself. The subliminal Rhapsody playing in the background will forever make me think of my happy memories on United.
It’s like Apple’s classic 1984 Super Bowl ad–my favorite ad of all time and nothing to do with the product itself. But it was riveting and an artistic masterpiece, which personifies the Apple brand today.
I work in marketing and branding and have done for 12 years, so allow me to comment.
Matthew, I think you are confusing what you like and what resonates with you personally, with what the marketplace and consumer will actually react to. You love thus United commercial clearly. It makes YOU think about United because you fly in Biz and F and access the lounges. Rhapsody also means something to YOU because you love United.
But the average consumer hates airports and flies coach. And they dont have warm fuzzy feelings for airlines.
Although I suspect this is more a “branding” commercial than a commercial intended to drive sales, I don’t really think this commercial works on any level. Clearly someone thought it did as it got on the air.
Apple’s commercial you refer to is different. It was genuius as it actually told you something about Apple and their brand and what they stand for and their promise to you if you buy their products. The United ad tells me nothing.
Also “It’s Time to Fly” is a meaningless tagline. You could apply it to any airline. It says nothing about United. “Think Differently: says everything about Apple. I doubt Microsoft or Dell or HP could say that.
United needs a tagline that talks about the future. About building a great new airline. About a promise to provide a new standard in the future. United should no their shortcomings and short not talk about being the best airline – but rather a promise to get better, improve and raise the bar in US airlines in the future. That is their mission statement internally nd should be their tagline somehow.
As uncreative as it is something like “Building a great new airline” or “We’re flying to be the best Airline in America” Maybe not those axact words – but that message.
I think Virgin Australia’s new commercials that con-incided with their pitch to become a more full service quality airline (like Qantas) with a fresh young hip twist – are beautiul to look at and right on the money. They sell their product, their promise, and I belive would drives masses to actually want to book Virgin flights over Qantas.
The United one simply does not
Virgin Australia ad here:
@Tim: Thanks for your comments.
Look, my degrees are not in marketing, but I think the United “It’s Time to Fly” campaign did tell a story about United–and United alone. Take the ad I posted–throughout the man’s life, we see that United was part of it. The message is that United is there for you–it has been and it will continue to be.
The Rhapsody and tulip are visual and audio cues that prompt readers to think of United versus any other airline. The fact that any airline could have used this ad, with a different logo and different music, does not mean much to me–they did not, and the ad also captures so nicely the sense of reawakening United was going through after it emerged from bankruptcy.
Other airline campaigns I love include:
Both seem not to have a lot do with the product itself.
@Matthew – I agree, the Virgin & Korean commercials are fantastic. I might not see actual seats and people on planes, but I see the planes, their flight attendants – and it sells me something – I want to book seats on both those airlines after those commercials.
The United one does not do that. I’m not sure how you got that story out of the United ad. I just dont think it drives sales, or brands them. So it’s a fail in my book.
Qantas always does beautiful commercials too:
I miss those old UA commercials. Besides the one Matthew posted, Rose and Sea Orchestra are two of my favorites.
The fat twins are so ugly they look retarded I want to punch them in the face I’m never flying virgin because of how hideous those twins are
As someone who’s a frequent flyer (short distance), someone who’s never heard of United, never looked too carefuly at adverts and never seen the ad before – I want to say you’re both right.
The United advert is pretty cute and it does tell a visual story but I’m not sure you get the message that United is there for you all your life. I think it’s more of a “when you get time to follow your dreams, if those dreams involve flying – guess who’ll be there?” Sort of message I get from it. So it’s pretty cute but it doesn’t feel suitable for a commercial as I don’t want to fly United.
In fact it reminds me of this music video (it’s in Turkish):
So as Tim mentioned above, it doesn’t really fulfil it’s aim. That being said, I don’t think a plain commercial showing me the seats/staff/etc would motivate me to fly United. To me, it would be “ah, this another ad. I think a story or a value being attachecd is incredibly important – especially for an expensive item: What’s on the next channel?”
This Turkish ad is probably the best compromise:
Sorry it’s in Turkish again – I guess I let you know where I fly often!
Basically the script is this.
Man: dad, c’mon, we’re going to miss the flight.
grandad: No, I won’t go by plane
Man: Why not?
Grandad: No place for my feet.
Dad: No way, there’s lots of space
Grandad: Well then – they won’t let me take my suitcase in.
kid: Don’t be silly grandad. You can take 30kg full of stuff
There’s no TV, there’s no kebab, etc
dad: Dad, if you love our country, you would get on OUR flight
Story is that THY is family friendly and you get to see the staff.
How is that? Good, bad?
Anyway, I got to go.
@Jane–I loved the TK commercial.