Former Barça player and current Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola has become the face of a brand new advertising campaign by club sponsor Etihad Airways. The airline is positioning itself as the “airline of choices” and “personalisation” with a new brand promise that asks customers to “Choose Well”. The new advertising campaign has been launched to coincide with the Abu Dhabi-based carrier’s 15th birthday and comes as Etihad once again looks to reinvent itself.
“The airline’s new customer proposition is an invitation for all to make choices about how they travel and to journey on their own terms,” a statement released by the airline explained. Many will see the campaign as part of an effort on Etihad’s part to validate recent cost-cutting measures that were hurriedly introduced to stem deep losses at the airline. Etihad, however, says it drew inspiration for the campaign from the legacy of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
“We are a proud advocate of choice and have introduced a range of products that allow our guests to personalise every aspect of their experience,” commented Etihad’s chief commercial officer, Robin Kamark. “Whether that’s First, Business or Economy, the power is with the guest to decide what products are right for them.”
In the last year, Etihad has introduced a number of “choices” which include:
- Buy on board snacks and upgraded beverages on select long-haul flights
- Turning its chauffeur drive service into a paid add-on in most markets
- Allowing passengers paid access to Business Class lounges
- Selling empty middle seats in Economy and putting spare premium seats to an auction
On top of that, we’ve also recently seen Etihad announce ambitious plans to outfit a large proportion of its widebody long-haul aircraft fleet with extra legroom seats (Premium Economy Lite maybe?).
One has to wonder whether Etihad would be going down this road if it hadn’t been for a disastrous equity investment scheme that resulted in the airline losing a mammoth $1.95 billion USD in 2016. Nonetheless, Etihad recently said it had in the past made its onboard product and marketing material too exclusive for the majority of passengers. Products like its three-room Residence cabin really were the epitome of Middle Eastern excess.
But now the airline now wants to become more inclusive and offer products and services that are accessible to a larger cross section of potential passengers. The creative agency behind the new campaign said research into Etihad’s recent changes were a “game changer” although the advertising will seek to build a stronger connection with potential customers.
“This campaign is about inspiring, celebrating and offering great choices to all. It’s a rallying call. Those that choose well, live well,” commented Jason Foo, the chief executive of BBD Perfect Storm.
Advertising on print, radio and television will rollout across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and Australia today, with more markets to be added later.