As engineering companies, most aircraft manufacturers focus their communication on technical aspects – fuel efficiencies, resale value. These concepts, however, are often meaningless to the consumer, particularly the frequent flyer. Airbus developed a strategy to communicate with Frequent Flyers in a new, more human approach by talking about what matters to them: cabin comfort.
While frequent fliers aren’t decision makers in purchasing aircraft, they are becoming increasingly influential as they have started to vote with their wallets – choosing airlines and aircraft that offer them greater comfort even in the ‘cheap’ seats.
Most travelers believe the comfort of their experience is due to the airline’s design of the plane and not the manufacturer, which isn’t the case. An Airbus craft is much wider allowing airlines to install wider economy class seats. Frequent fliers are predominantly economy class travelers, i.e not enjoying the luxuries of flat beds, extra space and free champagne.
Working with creative positioning of ‘Passenger Don’t Fly by Numbers’ Airbus set out to create frequent flyer ambassadors for the brand. Using the Dubai Airshow, they launched their ‘Cabin Comfort’ strategy to drive audiences to a virtual Airbus cabin comfort hub focused on the importance of comfort – demonstrating research and facts in an entertaining and informative way. To give it credibility Airbus even commissioned a qualified sleep specialist to be the spokesperson for Airbus cabin comfort.
Airbus invested in controlled travel-specific programmatic buys; covering off essential travel environments such as Opodo.com, Skyscanner.com, flightstats.com and Guardian Travel as well as a media first programmatic buy on the Weather Channel, specifically targeting those looking to fly or the weather in far flung destinations. They also took sponsorship of Seat Guru, the world’s largest airline seat rating website, further engaging those looking to review cabin comfort. Contextually targeted display messaging appeared on BBC World and CNN Travel sections.
Fifteen-million Frequent Flier unique users were reached with programmatic buying delivering over 70% of this engagement. Sixty-eight million organic impressions using the campaign hashtag #airbuscomfort and 6.6 million paid impressions dominated travel commentary within Twitter producing millions of new Airbus brand advocates.