Emirates has long taken a unique approach when it comes to their marketing campaigns. For example, a couple of years back Jennifer Aniston starred in a pretty hilarious ad in which she has a “nightmare” that she’s on another airline. She was reportedly paid 5 million USD for being part of that campaign.
Emirates has just unveiled their latest ad campaign, which instead chooses to highlight Emirates’ advantage in economy, rather than in premium cabins. The campaign has the tagline “don’t upgrade your seat, upgrade your airline.” What makes the ad different is that it doesn’t showcase Emirates’ onboard product, or even make mention of the airline until the very end.
The airline features a bunch of people asking for upgrades on an unnamed airline. Presumably these are largely similar to the requests that ground agents at many airlines receive on a daily basis. Per Emirates’ press release:
Emirates’ latest ads feature a series of characters who try to wrangle a seat upgrade at an unnamed airline’s check-in counter. Each spot ends with the ultimate tip for travellers: “Don’t upgrade your seat, upgrade your airline. Fly Emirates.”
Seasoned with a liberal dose of humour, the scripts tap into a rich vein of anecdotes about what people might say or do when they ask for an upgrade – from name-dropping and flattery to other more creative endeavours.
Also in a departure from typical airline advertising, the ads do not show the actual inflight product. Even the airline brand is not revealed until the end of the spot.
Here’s what Emirates’ SVP of Corporate Communications, Marketing, and Brand has to say about the campaign:
“Emirates’ Economy Class is well known for being a true, full-service product. We offer excellent value for money, with world-class inflight entertainment in every seat, full course gourmet meals, generous free baggage allowances, and great service.
“In today’s environment where others are stripping amenities from their cabins and shrinking legroom, we believe travellers can relate to the desperate lengths that some people might go to, in order to get their seat upgraded. Our message is simple – why try so hard to upgrade your seat when you can fly Emirates instead?”
Here’s the main ad Emirates will be using for this campaign:
In addition to the main spot above, over the coming weeks Emirates will reveal over a dozen vignettes, each showcasing one upgrade “trick” that people try to use, like this one:
It’s a cute enough concept, though it’s a bit on the cheesy side. It’s interesting to see the different approaches that the Gulf carriers take towards advertising. For example, Etihad’s advertising has consistently been whimsical and abstract, and focused almost exclusively on their product at the front of the plane.
Meanwhile Emirates’ advertising has largely been targeted at the average traveler, with the focus on humor.
Personally I prefer Etihad’s approach, though at this point it’s about the only part of their experience I prefer, given how many cuts they’ve made.
While there’s no denying that Emirates offers a competitive product in economy, I’d be hard pressed to say that flying Emirates’ 777 economy in a 3-4-3 configuration really qualifies as “upgrading your airline.” Daniel has reviewed economy on both Emirates’ 777s and A380s, and it does look like the A380 offers a significantly better onboard product.
What do you make of Emirates’ new ad campaign?