Royal Jordanian’s Latest Ad Focuses On The French Presidential Election

While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, Royal Jordanian has been very successful with political ads. Usually you’d think that’s not something an airline would want to touch with a ten foot pole, but Royal Jordanian has reported great success with this strategy, and claims that bookings to the US were up 50% as a result of them.

For example, leading up to the US election last year, Royal Jordanian put out an ad encouraging people to travel to the US while they’re still allowed to.

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They didn’t stop there. This February they published an ad with the tagline “Ban Voyage.”

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Then a couple of weeks ago they published an ad about a different kind of fear of flying, in which a Donald Trump lookalike makes a cameo.

Now it seems that Royal Jordanian is trying politics in another region. With France’s presidential election underway, Royal Jordanian is chiming in on that.

The first ad is very subtle. The first time I quickly read through it (without thinking about the current election) I thought to myself “yeah, Amman to Paris is only 2,100 miles, that is pretty close.” But then it made sense to me.

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They also published a follow-up ad about how the skies should be, with “liberty, equality, fraternity,” which is the motto of the French revolution.

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Regardless of how you feel about the ads as such, I think there’s no denying that this is a bold campaign on Royal Jordanian’s part, and that they’re taking a different stance than others. Most airlines couldn’t get away with this, but I suspect that with Royal Jordanian it’s a bit less risky, given who they are in the context of the politicians they’re referring to. In other words, I suspect their upside with people who agree with their ideals is exponentially greater than the downside of someone boycotting them because they disagree with Royal Jordanian’s stance.

The irony is that the second ad is supposed to be a fare sale, and I can’t help but feel like those are actually not great prices. Amman to Paris is shorter than a US transcon, and the sale price is ~840USD. That ain’t cheap.

What do you make of Royal Jordanian’s take on the French election?

Comments

  1. For a national airline from a country who’s leaders are NOT democratically elected, its pretty cheeky of them to comment on how other countries allow the people to choose their leaders. Their king decides their prime minister. Their people have no choice.

    And the last ad about Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite triptyc is especially ironic coming from an airline with the word Royal in the title, since that was a rallying cry against monarchy and for federalism.

    Perhaps Royal Jordanian should spend more time worrying about their own country’s lack of political participation before lecturing democracies on how to act.

  2. @Mark F. Couldn’t have said it better myself. The fact that when you patronize middle eastern airlines you are financially supporting serial human rights abusers is ignored by the majority of authors and readers of this blog. Then, when these countries hypocritically heap criticism on actual democracies they are hailed as being ‘bold’ and ‘wildly successful’

  3. Look at Mark F and STJ so by boycotting every nearly Middle Easter carrier we will solve human rights abuse problems? The Middle East rules by Monarchy which is better than the “freedom” America exports and half the African countries America has exported freedom and human rights is in absolute shambles

  4. @Olabisi. I didn’t say anything about boycotting anyone. I simply found Royal Jordanian’s use of the triptych ironic since that was the French rally cry AGAINST monarchy during the French Revolution. Millennials should concentrate less on twitter shade and learn more about ACTUAL HISTORY. Robespierre is probably rolling in his grave or laughing in his grave at the cluelessness that abounds.

  5. @Mark F Contrary to popular belief not everyone on the Internet is a MILLENIAL I understand what you mean by it is Ironic because the Phrase was an abolishment of the monarchy but your first comment about RJ being cheeky was cheeky its like the Americans saying the Russians have too many nuclear weapons

  6. What the commentators seem to be missing is that Royal Jordanian don’t run Jordan… They therefore aren’t remotely hypocritical. At best you can say they’re being selectively critical, but then I’m not sure you understand how marketing works if that’s the case…

  7. It’s actually not as cheeky or as bold as it seems.

    Most companies try to avoid political ads. But for some sectors where the target consumer is leans one way or the other, it makes sense. Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have a core base of urban folks — who are a pretty liberal bunch Gun shops will probably attract a more conservative clientele. The same goes for airlines.

    International travelers overall are generally more wealthy and better educated than others in their country. The most frequent (high revenue) travelers are businesspeople. Politically, these white-collar globetrotters are far more likely to be free-market neoliberals than they are to be economic nationalists. They identify with the cognac-sipping bureaucrat in Brussels far more than they would with the steelworker in Ohio. Consequently, RJ’s ads would probably just give them a few chuckles.

    If you take a look at the rate of passport ownership by each state in the U.S., there’s a pretty stark difference between flyover country and coastal America. There are exceptions, of course — but the rate of passport ownership by state tends to have a strong correlation with income, size of immigrant population, and human capital levels. It’s probably logical to say that passport ownership is correlated with international travel.

    TL;DR: RJ’s target market is probably a more worldly bunch who disdain populism.

  8. I was in Jordan last year for the first time and I thought it was great. The people, the food, the sights….all first class. But RJ has a brass pair making these political comments. Their commercial featuring the poor dude who feels so uncomfortable on board the plane is a glaring example of hypocrisy. Jordan’s stance on human rights is well documented and it’s not good. Better than most ME countries but it’s all relative. Hypocrites.

  9. “Not for everyone” — like Ford’s rich, Republican dad probably. Someone knows where his bread is buttered!

  10. Nothing better than a cleverly subtle advertisement – I love that an airline is up for calling out discrimination and hate filled policies. These advertisements are topical, current and intelligent and promote Royal Jordanian as a ‘thoughtful’ carrier. Travel innately involves politics and it is folly to ignore this and folly to believe that any one country has a perfect Human Rights record.

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