’No way BA-AA!’ That was the typically pugnacious message adorning
the fuselage of one of Virgin Atlantic’s jets which I glimpsed a couple
of month’s ago while taxiing around Heathrow.
Why, I thought, don’t more people use all those acres of painted and
polished aluminium creatively rather than have them just sit around
looking corporate and understated?
Well, clearly I was not alone because Jaguar has done a deal with
Ryanair to use its aircraft as flying billboards. The elegant green cat
is a perfect complement to the curvaceous jets thanks to the efforts of
styling team Geoff Lawson and Fergus Pollock.
It is such a brilliant media choice, instantly redolent of cosmopolitan
destinations and international chic and being exposed to a highly
selected band of ambitious, achievement-focused globetrotters. This is a
great gesture of confidence from Ryanair since its identity only sits
discreetly under the wings, and yet somehow it gains from the
juxtaposition - perfect synergy.
It’s extraordinary, when you think about it, that the promotional
warfare which permeates every square inch of most major airports is
suddenly suppressed the moment you step through the gate or look out
onto the tarmac. All those aircraft tootling around and doing no more
than promote their ownership: ’Look, I’m an Air Zimbabwe Boeing.’
The impact of aircraft as an advertising medium has got to be enormous.
As yet the novelty value is high, target audiences clearly defined and
international exposure is guaranteed.
One thing is for certain, this medium needs the right clients to pull
off such stunts. There are rumours that Guinness is interested. I can
see it now: ’Pure (Irish) Genius.’ As a passenger I would be quite
sensitive to the sort of advertising I had wrapped around my aircraft.
Omega watches fine, Kwik-Fit not sure. Harrods yep, Savacentre nope.
I can’t wait to see who will be next to sign up with Ryanair - 16
aircraft to go - and after that which airline will follow it down this