Inflight advertising is not a new concept. Personalised spaces or objects such as headrests, trays as well as magazines and audiovisual messages have all been used for advertising purposes.
This additional source of revenue for airlines may mean lower prices for other items and for advertisers it can represent an ideal opportunity to reach a highly receptive audience that is literally captive.
Here are some statistics:
85% of long-distance travellers recalled some type of inflight advertising or promotional material. The figures were higher for business class and high frequency passengers.
86% of customers are flying in a positive mood, and are hence more likely to be receptive to advertising messages.
Triad Consulting Group
On flights of over an hour, 9 out of 10 airline passengers used their tray for 15 minutes or more. In short flights of an hour or less, the figure stood at 82%
92% of airline passengers were still able to recall advertising messages a few hours after arrival.
This would seem to be an appealing way of getting to potential customers but only insofar as it responds to the right strategy. Advertisers base their choices on the type of airline, on different routes, on the different formats available and their cost. This does mean that the airline will obtain a source of revenue; however certain working guidelines must be established in order to preserve its relationship with travellers, preventing them from being bombarded with advertising to a point that could be considered annoying or aggressive.
This should be taken as an opportunity to for creative and customer-oriented communication, avoiding any practices that could cause customer rejection.
One case that has enjoyed high levels of customer approval are Emirates’ inflight magazines.
Emirates publishes three magazines, Open Skies, Portfolio and TV & Radio with the idea of making contact with its more sophisticated readers.
The first is a lifestyle magazine reflecting the cosmopolitan character of its readership, including stories from around the world covering such diverse topics as travel, technology, health, the environment, art, culture, food, business and adventure.
Portfolio is a business magazine aimed exclusively at First Class and Business Class passengers including interviews and profiles related to business topics and current affairs.
TV & Radio is an entertainment guide providing listings for the inflight entertainments programmes available on the different routes operated by the airline.
The advertising included in these publications is not invasive; on the contrary, travellers are provided with added value and entertainment,
Other promotional options are also possible, such as the campaign carried out by La Prairie where first class passengers travelling with Qantas, Swiss International Air Lines, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa and Eva Air were delivered with a gift set of the company’s cosmetics.
It is obvious that it is highly important that the values of the brands choosing to advertise on board and the airline are in line. Luxury products would not reach their target audience by focusing on low-cost airlines; it would seem more reasonable to advertise with traditional airlines, particularly to first class passengers. On the other hand, other products such as those aimed at students may well find their potential market in low-cost airlines.
It is therefore possible to devise well-received, attractive and lucrative advertising adjusted to specific target audiences with the benefits being shared by airlines, advertisers and the target audience, as long as certain standards of respect and non-invasion of travellers’ privacy are kept.
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