Last week my husband and I were lucky enough to escape the cold wet weather we have been experiencing and escape to sunny Bali. For the flight home we chose to fly Air Asia because of the great prices they were offering. Part way through the flight I had a good look around the cabin and noticed that the Air Asia brand was EVERYWHERE. There were adverts on every single overhead baggage compartment, the backs of the fold-up tables had adverts on, the logo was embossed on every head rest, there were branded magazines and information cards in the seat pockets. My eyes were bombarded with red and I couldn’t look anywhere without seeing the brand!

While I am a huge endorser of good branding this was definitely overkill. To start with everyone on that flight was well aware of the brand – we had all purchased tickets to fly with the airline, we didn’t need to be convinced they were worth flying with, we were already doing it! Secondly, if you are going to plaster the inside of your airline cabin, which is full of people who are aware of your brand, with your advertising, at least make the message relevant to them. Tell them something they don’t already know.

So what could have Air Asia done better? Personally I would have toned it down a bit by removing the advertising from the underside of the pull-down tables so at least, within their own little space, customers could relax without being bombarded. I would also introduce an extra styling element into the brand projection to use on items such as the headrests rather than the logo – think Coca-Cola’s swish. On the overhead luggage compartments I would suggest a series of different adverts all promoting products and services offered by the company that the customers onboard may not be aware of. As for the branded magazines and information cards, I’d leave them, they are tucked away and customers can peruse them at their leisure but when they do they are subtly reminded of the brand.

Another option would be to put the money normally spent on advertising inside the cabin into other avenues to potentially encourage repeat or new sales. For instance, giving customers branded luggage tags or even better branded passport pockets so that next time they go to book a holiday and pull out their passport, they are reminded of Air Asia. Other inexpensive items such as pens, fridge magnets and kids colouring books can all be branded and given away ensuring your brand is kept at ‘top of the mind’ year round. These days a lot of accommodation and flight bookings are made online through booking agents, so another cost effective approach would be to invest in banner adverts on these sites to reach your potential audience right when they are making their decision. There are hundreds of ways to reach your audience and promote your brand, I just don’t think Air Asia were using the best approach.

So when choosing how to spend your advertising dollar, it pays to think who you are advertising to. If your audience are captive and are aware of your brand tell them something they don’t know or make sure they remember you in the future.