Question 1: what do you consider the main advantages & disadvantage of print advertising for those airlines that still use it as a part of their marketing communications strategy?
Marketing is that function of a business which is responsible for identifying customer requirements and making collaboration with other functions of the business to satisfy them. Advertising is a subset of marketing. It is a way through which a company reaches its customers or potential customers to convey the product offerings and how that product offering is differentiated from others companies offering same products or services.
- Print Medium: Magazines, newspapers, posters etc.
- Direct advertising: Booklets, brochures.
- Outdoor Advertising: Street advertisements.
- Radio Advertisement:
- TV and Cinema Advertisement
- Internet Advertisement
- Mobile Phone advertisement.
Even though we have stepped into a new age of advertising where most of the industries rely more and more on TV and internet advertising, Airline industry seems to be still using print media for most of its advertising campaigns. There are many reasons why airline industry sticks to this marketing strategy.
There are different marketing parameters based on which we will try to see the advantages and disadvantages of using print media for airline industry in the United Arab Emirates ( UAE)
- Marketing Reach
Most of the operators of UAE based airlines are operating in almost all of the Middle East countries and also in many of the European countries. Some of the airlines that are big global players are ranked almost at the top rung of the airline industry. Because of its diverse market reach it poses some scope as well as challenges. The airline growth rate in the region is more than 10% year on year. Even though electronic media has started penetrating the region but still it has not even penetrated 15% of the population. For example, in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen Twitter penetration is less than 5% of the total population. Newspaper is still the largest media to reach people. It almost reaches more than 70% of the population in the region. Looking at this statistics, Airline print media seems to be the right choice in the region. Another reason is the diverse languages spoken and the diverse culture that are found among the customers. For example, a person planning to come to Hajj will give no importance to an advertisement which contains information about serving superior liquors in the airline because religious Muslims don’t drink liquor. On the other hand, a Hindu person planning to visit Dubai for business or pleasure will try to avoid airlines which serve beef and hence advertising campaign containing information about serving beef in the airline will act as a negative advertisement in India. In electronic media such focused advertisement campaign may not always be possible. Print media advertisement using newspapers and billboards can be very focused to a region, customer segment or country. This is another reason why print media is preferred still for most of the airline advertising. In terms of marketing reach print media definitely still acts as an advantageous advertisement media for most of the airline houses in Middle East.
2.0 Brand Visibility.
In case of print media, the airline can choose where in the newspaper they want to put their advertisement, what will be the size of the advertisement and what it will contain exactly. However, in electronic media advertisement the place of the advertisement may not always be on the main focus point of the page. It is often at one corner of the page. Although it reaches millions of people but may not be noticeable by most. On the other hand, print media reaches much lesser number of people but a nice print advertisement gets noticed by a very high percentage of the readers. Newspapers has loyal reader base and it is easy to extend that loyalty to the airline by great marketing campaign that is targeted properly to the readers of that newspaper.
In print media brand differentiation is easy because newspapers have very segmented loyal reader base. For example, Khaleej Times has a readership completely different from the readers of Al-Ittihad. The airline can start completely different advertising campaigns to the two types of readers.
Although print media can reach targeted people and appeals to the mass more effectively than electronic media in the region, but in terms of flexibility it is not a good choice. The advertising campaigns requiring to be posted in newspapers or billboards often needs advanced planning for months. In this dynamic world where the customer needs are changing continuously, this requirement for advanced planning poses a challenge. Often new opportunities crops up based on some changes in political, environmental or diplomatic scenario and need immediate action from the airline to grab customers. In those cases print media is not the option for the airline. It needs to reach customers often within a matter of few days. In this context internet or television does a better job than print media.
The cost involving advertising in print media is almost highest among all forms of media. The problem here is to get a substantial space in a popular newspaper, such as Khaleej Times, which is a costly affair. Even after paying that cost the company can never be sure about how many people will actually see that advertisement. On the other hand internet advertisement can offer more flexibility like pay per click. The company needs to pay only if anyone has clicked its advertisement.
3.0 Shelf Life.
In case of a newspaper based ads, the advertisement only lasts for a single day and then it goes out of the public sight. To constantly get customer attention the company needs to publish advertisement almost every day in the print media. For internet bad ads, there is no concept of shelf life because the ads may remain for as many days as the company prefers.
- Changing Advertising market
The print media usage is on the fall and television is now the biggest advertising media worldwide. Internet media usage is on the rise. As this usage pattern changes, the effectiveness of print media will definitely get less priority and lose its position as the most effective media. One recent survey result is as below:
As the customer usage of media changes so will be the advertising medium. Although currently print media commands lot of advertisement from airline industry but the marketing people should look at the current trend and probably in coming future have to change its strategy.
Question 2 and 3: Six examples of advertisement from different airlines
Advertisement: Gulf Air Falcon Gold
- The advertisement is placed at a very good place in the print media and is catchy.
- The print advertisement does not have any other co-brand advertisement near the space which makes it exclusive in the print media.
- It speaks luxury without even spelling a single word about luxury in the advertisement.
- It also speaks comfort and privacy through the imagery.
- The message is very clear. It clearly states that travel to Europe or Far East and get two tickets free for GCC.
- The targeted audience seems to be young travelers.
- The ad is somewhat stereotyped. Some other airlines also use the same type of illustration to portray luxury.
- There are very few information about the pricing and any other main clauses, if any.
- The site information is put as gulfair.com which is not the place where you will find about the advertisement. You have to search further in the website gulfair.com to get information about the deal.
- This is not an honest advertisement as it has almost no information about tickets and pricing.
Advertisement: Air France
- The advertisement space is good and occupies one of the best spaces in the print daily.
- The key word is easy and fun and conveys the message clearly. “Sunshine Deals” clearly depicts great deals for travelling to beaches.
- The picture in the advertisement states very clearly that the targeted audience is people who want to find good deals for relaxing vacations.
- If you go to the website and try to compare the price as advertised you will see that the price is almost same as advertised and even it offers lower price in some cases.
- Bold and big sized price tags in the advertisement catch the eye which is the main focus of the advertisement as well.
- The ad is non-Contemporary, non-Stereotyped and non-Sexist.
- The price mentioned in the ad makes the company liable to offer the same to the customers availing sunshine deal packages even if the price of airfare goes up.
- The advertisement does not clearly say how to book tickets or get more information about the sunshine deal.
- The deal is about sunshine and beaches but the color of the advertisement is dull in that respect and may get lost among lot of other more vibrant print media advertisements.
- This ad is an extremely unconventional and bold portrayal of comfort while flying.
- As the same time it is depicting fun so apart from corporate customers it may also catch eyes for the occasional travelers and leisure travelers.
- The catch line is also young and fresh “ We Fly for your Smile”
- The ad is simple, uncluttered and non-stereotyped.
- There is not much information in the advertisement.
- Price and route related information is not available.
- Extremely good advertisement space selected.
- The advertisement is stereotyped but very clear and conveys the message clearly to its customers.
- It does not avoid identifying its customer group as economy class customers as the message is clearly written“ Coral Economy class sale”
- This ad very effectively targets the economy class passengers and gives exactly the information they want in that small advertising space.
- The advertisement is non-sexist as the person depicted in the advertisement can come from almost any clime of the world.
- The advertisement is very honest in its message about cost and fare conditions.
- This ad is contemporary, stereotyped and non-imaginative.
- The advertisement makes it appealing to only those customer segments that fly out of Abu Dhabi to the places mentioned in the advertisement.
- This advertisement clearly states its newly launched 4 day flight program from Toronto to Cairo.
- It is focused advertisement
- The picture is attractive and clearly connects with the Egyptian customers or travelers travelling to Egypt
- The advertisement is placed in a very good space in a free magazine.
- The advertisement is non-imaginative and stereotyped.
- It is too commonplace and just matter of factly communicates information without adding any fun quotient.
- It carries too much information but fails to convey why these extra flights to Toronto will be beneficial for the customers (Cost, convenient flight times or what?)
Advertisement: Qatar Airways
Source: Oryx Magazine, Edition - January, 2013, Position: - Back cover of the Magazine
- This advertisement aims to place Qatar airlines on the super luxury airline segment by promoting it as a 5 star carrier.
- The picture of various types of great food gives an instant message that the passengers of Qatar airlines will be treated royally.
- The message to promote Qatar airways as a luxury brand is very clearly conveyed.
- The add only concentrates on food and does not touch upon anything about the other services including seat space, legroom, privacy, drinks served, and in flight network .
- The target segment for the advertisement is non-Europeans travelling to Europe for business and leisure. However, the foods shown in the photograph are fully European. This does not appeal to Middle East or other Asian customers.
- The advertisement is not very catchy as a whole. Although the message is very clear but it is incomplete and bland.
- It is definitely a new type of advertisement but it looks more like a restaurant advertisement than that of an airline.
- Liz Gannes, Nobody “Goes Online” Anymore , Retrieved on 13th May , 2013 from http://allthingsd.com/20121017/nobody-goes-online-anymore/?mod=googlenews_editors_picks&google_editors_picks=true
- Brassil, Michael , The Only Business Start-Up Guide You Will Ever Need , Retrieved on 13th May 2013 from http://www.websitemarketingplan.com/small_business/tvadvertising.htm/
- Ross, Ariela, 50+ Airline Advertisement for your information, Retrieved on 13th May 2013 from http://designora.com/graphics/airline-advertising/