Tuesday, 27 March 2012

More on airport advertising: when does it makes sense to advertise an airport and when it doesn't?

In this blog, I have repeatedly brought up the topic of whether it made sense or not for a major airport with already serious congestion problems, like London Heathrow, to advertise itself in the public transport system (see my entries here and here)...and while BAA continues to spend its marketing budget in what, to me, look like pretty useless ads (maybe I am missing something, airport marketing experts, please, let me know if this is the case!) such as the one below (spotted at Angel station, Islington, this week), I came across an example of when it makes sense for an airport to advertise itself to the public

Pointless: if there is something LHR does not lack is travelers!

What if you are a new entrant into a market that has long been dominated by an oligopoly of firms that are well known to the general public? What if you have a fairly competitive product and ample scope for growth but most people have never heard about you?

So here is an ad of London Southend airport, also spotted in Islington. 

 Remember to check me out next time you go on holiday!

I think this is the case where it makes perfect sense to advertise an airport to the general public. People are starting to plan spring breaks and the summer season, there is a new airport in town and it has some interesting new routes that might be of your interest, so next time you are browsing for your low cost flight to the Mediterranean you remember to check this one out too. 

The ad is also straight to the point, rather than pitching some sort of abstract "passenger experience" it tells you they are new, it tells you, very visually, where you can fly to, and on what airlines

I am not sure what is the goal of the Heathrow ad, but it is clear what the Stobart Group aims  for with this ad: position London Southend as one of London's airports and make their market entry known to potential low cost airline passengers. Whether they succeed or not is a different matter.


Daniel Hirsch said...
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bharatbook said...
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James David said...

This blog is right! An ad for an airport should be straight forward on its point. It should play a vital role on informing passengers and possible passengers of the potential of your company. Keep posting blogs like this!

I'm looking forward for more posts like this one.

James David teaches people how to buy single engine airplanes & has a passion for the Cessna 177

Mediabrokers said...
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Stuart Barwood said...

Much of the marketing undertaken by airports, especially large established players like LHR, tends be in place to alter perceptions and prepare passengers in advance of flying.

I suppose what LHR is hoping to achieve in their recent campaign is not necessarily to highlight the existence of the airport rather attempting to break down the general customer perception that it is not an easy airport to use.

By putting the message of "smoother take offs" and clearly defined simple processes in front of potential passengers it will improve perception that things have changed and the airport is much more user friendly.

I'm not saying this is or isn't the case but this is the purpose of the advertising campaigns.

In the example you've hightlighted in your post the graphic basically says "simple, clear process" - something LHR is not traditionally renowned for. If this message is frequently seen it has the ability to affect the viewers subconscious opinions

With regards to the sales ads for consumer goods available such as electronics and cosmetics they purpose isn't really to entice more pax to use the airport but instead to either delay purchases they may have made in the high street before their travel to make them at the airport instead.

Ultimately it also serves to associate "airports" with "shopping" and pax go with that mindset in place when they arrive.

Allplane: all about aviation, airlines and air travel said...

Thanks for your very informative comment Stuart! I agree that "selling" the airport to get more people to use it is not really the point here, however, seems, that despite the association of LHR with a poor passenger experience, it has not changed people's and airlines' preference for it. More of a PR exercise...

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