SpiceJet hits a creative air pocket

The airline doesn’t have money to feed us water on board! And SpiceJet has created not one, but five TV commercials

Till the recent past, low-cost airlines have been content with using below-the-line marketing activities. Which are basically emails, brochures and mailers. With the expensive cost of mass media, this route made business sense. And of course, there's the other thing: passengers opt for low-cost airlines to save money, so what can be offered beyond that? However, massive competition within budget airlines has led to a change of mind; now more and more of these airlines are choosing the television medium to try and build a distinctive brand image. Air Deccan and Indigo have already produced their TVCs. Now it's SpiceJet's turn to bite the dust. 

All very fine and dandy. What foxes me is this: Where do these guys get all the marketing dosh from? I mean, they don’t have money to feed us water on board! Plus the airlines are constantly cribbing about being short on funds. And they have been pressurising the aviation ministry for a bailout. Anyway, not one, as many as five commercials have been created by SpiceJet. The ad strategy used is rather interesting, it’s ‘reverse’ advertising, so to speak. All the commercials feature passengers who did not fly SpiceJet, and therefore lost out on the alleged freebies and add-ons the carrier offers. So in one commercial, a honeymooning couple is allotted seats in different rows. In another, a frequently flying dad brings home lollipops for his very pissed-off son, because he blew up all his money on flying. In another one, a broke dude takes his children on vacation to the same destination each year; he is always cash-starved as well. And so on and so forth. The idea being that had these sods flown SpiceJet, life would have been happier.
I actually like the strategic thought. Because this immediately ensures one stays away from the tired shots of staid hospitality, plastic air-hostesses and beaming passengers. And because the idea is unique, this should help the airline cast out a unique identity for itself in the airspace.

However, this opportunity gets frittered away because the execution and the story ideas leave you cold. They have played safe, and thereby killed a superb concept. Just imagine what fun situations could have been created; we all have our own recollections of the most outlandish experiences with flying. Once when I flew Jet Airways to Delhi, two rather angsty travellers had been allotted the same seat by mistake, and they were beating each other up all through the journey as the crew watched on helplessly, and I kid you not. Totally hilarious. In another airline, I saw two airhostesses involved in a massive verbal spat, a cat fight, much to the amusement of otherwise bored yatris. Featuring situations like these would have given firepower to SpiceJet's strategy. Well, hopefully as the campaign evolves, so will the creative.

In the meantime, here’s an idea for rival airlines: Create an ad where travellers are shown sweating their guts out and going topless on board (this recently happened on SpiceJet). Or where the pilot went missing, leaving the passengers high and dry. That too allegedly occurred on SpiceJet.

Yup, it's time airline advertising took wings! 

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    Manish Kamdar

    1 decade ago

    Dear Anil,

    I don't understand the logic behind being negative about all products you have writted on. Why not be positive for a change???


    1 decade ago


    Enjoyed reading this... Cheers

    Aviation sector revival by 2011, says Praful Patel

    The last quarter of 2009 has again raised some hopes of revival of the aviation sector in the country. The bad patch is almost over and the sector is looking forward to make up now, the aviation minister has said

    The aviation sector all over the world has suffered setbacks in 2008-2009 due to global recession, fuel prices and load factor but it will revive by 2011, Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel said on Monday, reports PTI.

    "There was a drop of 30% in passenger load factor leading to losses in many top airlines in the world including British Airways. But the last quarter of 2009 has again raised some hopes of revival in the country," Mr Patel told reporters in Nagpur.

    The bad patch is almost over and we are looking forward to make up now, he said. Asked about the Parliamentary Committee's remarks stating that the decision to merge national carriers Air India and Indian Airlines was taken in haste, Mr Patel said, "It’s a baseless story. My ministry has already issued a clarification on the same day."

    On the proposed maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities of aircraft manufacturing major Boeing in the city, Mr Patel said that the company was in the process of setting up a $100-million project soon.

    To a question, he said that Air India will soon resume the Nagpur-Dubai international flight which was discontinued last month. Necessary instructions have been issued, he added.

    Air India is in the process of launching a cargo hub very soon in Nagpur while Deccan Aviation has already started one from the city, Mr Patel said.

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    Government may decide on freeing petrol, diesel pricing this week

    A rate hike may become inevitable, as the government's limited financial resources are not enough to meet the revenue lost on selling petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene below cost

    The Indian government may decide on freeing petrol and diesel prices after an expert committee on fuel pricing submits its report this week, petroleum minister Murli Deora said on Monday, reports PTI.

    Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is believed to be in favour of giving state-run oil companies freedom to fix prices of petrol and diesel in step with costs, as he feels that the current moderate global oil rates may be the last window India has to deregulate fuel pricing.

    "We are trying our best to see that prices are not raised," Mr Deora told reporters. But a rate hike may become inevitable as the government's limited financial resources are not enough to meet the revenue lost on selling petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene below cost.

    "The Cabinet had in July 2009 decided that the government will meet all of the under-recovery (revenue loss) on domestic LPG and kerosene either through bonds or in cash and the same on petrol and diesel was to be met by upstream companies like Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC)," he said.

    While ONGC, Oil India and GAIL shouldered the entire Rs8,364 crore under-recovery on petrol and diesel in the first three quarters of the current fiscal, the government has agreed to give only Rs12,000 crore in cash against the Rs20,989 crore revenue loss on cooking fuel in April-December.

    "We will be meeting the finance minister tomorrow to see how this under-recovery is to be met," Mr Deora said, adding that a decision on fuel pricing was likely only after the Kirit Parikh committee submits its report this week.

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