Air France’s New Ad Campaign is…Confusing?

In a world where most passengers are ultra price-sensitive and simply go with the cheapest airfare, advertising for airlines is hard. Some airlines have focused on destinations, while some choose to highlight their onboard service. Still others opt to enlist high profile celebrities, or even resort to sex appeal.

Air France has launched a new ad campaign, called “Take a Chance or Fly Air France.” The idea is that you are just taking a chance if you’re flying other airlines, whereas with Air France you always know what you’re going to get. Specifically, here are the “benefits” you can expect on Air France:

  • In-flight entertainment with 500 hours of films and shows
  • Hot meals and drinks
  • Champagne service in all cabins

Perhaps I am just having a hard time understanding the angle of the ad campaign, but I find it pretty confusing. For starters, I don’t think this list of “benefits” is much to call home about. The champagne service is somewhat unique to Air France, but the other services are really pretty universal on full service carriers. Air France doesn’t even serve hot meals on most intra-Europe flights, and plenty of other airlines offer far more extensive in-flight entertainment options.

But I guess that’s where Air France is coming from. Both the transatlantic and intra-Europe markets ha has been flooded with ultra low-cost carriers, many of which offer extremely limited onboard services. Air France is no doubt feeling some of the heat from the competition, and feels the need to remind people that they are a full service airline, after all.

However, I wonder if Air France is missing a key point: people don’t choose low cost carriers because they didn’t know Air France offers better standard onboard service. People choose LCCs because they don’t care about onboard services if the ticket is cheap enough.

Air France's new "Take a Chance or Fly Air France" ad campaign includes a sweepstake where you can win things like an instant meal patch.

Air France’s new “Take a Chance or Fly Air France” ad campaign includes a sweepstake where you can win things like an instant meal patch.

Another element that I find strange is the online sweepstake where you can enter to win an inflight kit. The kit includes a roll of sudoku puzzle, champagne gummies, and an instant meal patch, whatever that is.

I suppose the idea is if you are flying a low cost carrier, having one of these kits is going to remind you how much better life would be on Air France. But in reality, does Air France really want to represent their onboard services with Sudoku puzzles and a beef bourguignon scratch and sniff?

Ultimately, I can see where Air France was trying to do with this ad campaign, but between the cumbersome tag line and the confusing campaign elements, the message is somewhat lost. I feel that Emirates’ “Upgrade Your Airline” campaign, for instance, sends a far clearer message that speaks to both people who fly legacy airlines and low cost carriers.

At any rate, you can enter the “Take a Chance or Fly Air France” online sweepstakes to win a set of the inflight kit containing gummies, puzzles, and a “meal patch.” Alternatively, you can also visit The Grove in Los Angeles on March 24, where Air France will be setting up a vending machine with other prizes up for grabs.

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