Air Canada has a shiny new plane and a shift in advertising strategy to go with it.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has finally arrived and the country’s largest airline is ready to use it as a springboard to new revenue in Canada and beyond.
After years of spending approximately 25% of their total advertising budget on international campaigns, the launch of the new Your World Awaits campaign will see that number jump to nearly 50% in 2014.
The campaign has hit newspapers in Toronto this week and will continue to spread throughout the country and around the world as summer nears with TV ads coming in July.
Air Canada’s shift in focus to the international market comes at a time when airlines like Porter, WestJet and others are continuing to secure more and more of the in-Canadian flight market and the likes of Air France-KLM are still stronger in the international world of commercial flights.
Vice President of Marketing, Craig Landry admits that domestic flights still provide the most income to the brand, but that the market is not growing very quickly. Whether he means that Air Canada’s grasp on the market isn’t growing, or Canada to Canada flights aren’t increasing, I don’t know. But it’s a great reason to up the spend overseas and try something new.
What Air Canada needs to keep in mind is that a new ad campaign will only do so much. The brand also needs to concentrate on their brand community and the customer experience. People don’t fly Air Canada because they love flying. They fly as a means to an end, all they want is to get where they are going on time, with decent service and no headaches. The truth is that airlines are generally perceived the same way that cell phone providers are: big faceless companies that are looking to make a lot of money while offering the minimal service possible.
If Air Canada’s customer satisfaction isn’t up to par it won’t matter how much money they spend on ads in Canada or abroad. In the age of social media every unhappy customer has the ability and opportunity to jump online and poison the brand community.
Great ads, and these new ones are pretty good, may get new people to fly Air Canada, but only once. After the sale it will be up to the staff from the gates to the cockpit that will determine who becomes a dedicated member of the brand community and a valuable customer for years to come.
Congrats on the new plane Air Canada. Good luck with the rest.