Fire Branding Skies

The world of advertising and branding in India is expanding like never before. There is more and more use of non-conventional spaces for advertising and publicity as branding becomes more dynamic. An exciting trend that started with vehicle graphics body wraps, truck wraps, railway wraps has now encompassed aircraft advertising as well. Airline wraps is an amazing zone of impressive displays that cover the body of the aircraft, to make for a wonderful communication of messages on unconventional publicity and branding. A utility not limited to only brands but also serving state governments and film promotions.

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Image Source: Indian Express

Larger Than Life

One such instance is that of the Tamil gangster film Kabali, which made a splendid use of airline wrap as a tool for promotion. After all, nothing less than the full-bodied grace of an aircraft could do justice to the name of Rajnikanth. This is precisely what the world saw when the superstar’s image appeared on the body of the special flight meant to carry the superstar’s fans to the first day first show of Kabali. The film’s official partner, Air Asia organised the Kabali themed aircraft as a special promotional for the Gangster film.

The exterior of the aircraft was a huge image of Rajnikanth, who is the Malaysian gangster Don Kabali. With the name of the film printed along the body of the aircraft, the flight flew fans from Bengaluru to Chennai for the first day, first show of the film. The idea was a major hit that lived up to the mania associated with the Rajnikanth film, had high visibility, and targeted the right audience.

Wrapping the Sky

Like all other novel ideas, the trend of airline wraps is backed by a necessity. This necessity is ancillary revenue for airline carriers. This is why Jet Airways came up with the idea of carrying advertisements on the aircraft’s body to overcome the revenue problems of the carrier. With effect, Jet airway flew a Boeing 737-800 aircraft with a body wrap advertising Nokia Lumia 800 in various domestic and international routes.

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Image Source: Global Onboard Partners

At Rs. 20 Lakh cost and 22 hours of continuous labour per aircraft, airline wrapping is not new in Indian aviation. Air Deccan and Indian Airlines have used wrapping previously, with Indian Airlines, painting the whole aircraft red as a campaign for HIV Aids awareness. This was a major carrier addressing a major issue in a major way. It all went together really well and was noticed by all. The exclusivity of the medium matching the exclusivity of the issue was trick that worked.

Most executives at aviation companies see wrapping as a good source of revenue generation at a time when the industry is looking forward to cutting costs in every way possible.

Telangana State Tourism

Just as the unconventional space for advertising, there are many unconventional seekers for these spaces. For instance, Telangana state government has collaborated with Spice Jet to promote tourism destinations in the state. The picturesque beauty of many of its destinations will now be seen as a wrap on the body of a Spice Jet Boeing. There is also some information about the tourist spots and a logo of the state tourism department. The branding exercise will last 2 months where the aircraft flies to various domestic locations as well as international locations such as Muscat, Abu Dhabi etc. Besides the wrap, Telangana tourism is also going with interior advertising properties such as cabin bulkheads at the entry and exit points and the seat covers that stay in front of the eyeballs throughout the journey. The department is looking forward to higher number of international tourist after this two-month promotional effort.

Against The Conventional Wave

What we are looking at in the case of Telangana state tourism promotion and Kabali is new because unlike before it is not the airline that is being promoted on the airline-advertising wrap, rather the whole wrap is going as a marketing vehicle to a second party.

Some of the advertising and branding professionals feel that airline wraps are not worth the effort due to few eyeballs that they manage to gather. Other modes such as trains or buses manage to gather much more visibility at lesser effort and cost. The primary reason why wraps are conventionally done on such modes and not on aircrafts.

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Image Source: New Indian Express

However, the whole point is to get to the right target audience, and not just high visibility. As evident in the case of airline wrap for Nokia Lumia 800, an expensive high-end mobile phone. This is where the success of airline wraps comes from -the ability to match the promoted aspect with the right target audience. Besides, the aircraft is a thing of grace, of beauty and of a unique personality. In the case of Kabali, the personality aspect showed and was quite effective in delivering the right kind of message that went with the image of Rajnikanth. This makes airline-advertising wraps a medium not meant for all kinds of products or promotions, but to a certain kind of effect utilised only when required. Similarly, the Telangana state tourism department made the right choice by advertising itself on a medium that is encountered by international tourists and which had the grace to carry the beauty of tourism destinations from the state. This furthered by the use of aircraft’s interior space such as seat covers and bulkheads to depict the scenic beauty of Telangana, converting the whole aircraft and its experience as an advertising property for the TS tourism initiative.

Aviation industry officials remain confident and optimistic about the success of airline wraps as the next buzz in the world of airline advertising and branding. Just as various advertisers put in place offers and preparations for brands that require Airline wrapping as a promotional tool. What had started as an effort to supplement the cash registers of airline carriers is showing all positive signs of turning into an effective property for powerful branding and promotion.