However, if you ask me, their mascot was one of the few things that wasn’t wrong with the airline.
Via The Times Of India:
Air India’s Maharajah, an iconic portly figure in regal garb and hands folded in namaskar, is being offloaded. Passengers are now being welcomed by a new and younger version of the mascot, sans turban with spiky hair, wearing jeans and sneakers. While the trademark twirling moustache remains, even that’s been cut down to size.
Since AI is symbolized by the Maharajah and could not be retired, the company has decided to tweak his image to make it more in tune with the changed times. “The new Maharajah is aligned with the modern times and with the new AI which is also trying to cut flab to become a lean commercial entity. The Maharajah now has a leaner, young, sporty and more dynamic look. He has made a big comeback in our ad campaigns. We are using 27 different pictures of the new Maharajah to showcase some of the destinations we fly to,” a senior AI official who handled the Maharajah’s makeover said. Among his avatars, the new Maharajah will be seen as a fighting fit member of the Indian cricket team wowing everyone with his stroke play.
Here’s the transformation:
Photo credit The Times Of India
Really the most insightful aspect of this is just how decisions are made at the airline:
In his first meeting with aviation ministry heads on June 21, 2014 — less than a month after taking office — Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the aam aadmi must replace the Maharajah as the mascot of Indian aviation. It came on the back of his emphasis that the ministry formulating policies to make flying within the reach of the common man and not limited only to the rich.
When a country’s prime minister is the one dictating the marketing plan for an airline, well, that’s how you know you’ve got a problem…
What do you think of the Maharajah’s transformation? Useful to create the perception that flying is attainable, or just plain dumb?