Over the years, we have seen many ways of advertising from airlines like EasyJet’s famous billboards campaign in which according to Easyjet’s ex-head of marketing Tony Anderson said there was an unwritten policy “ If it moved, we painted it orange. If it didn’t, we added an extra coat.” But now we are beginning to see a change in the way that they advertise, for instance airlines like Ryanair, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic have a large following on TikTok, with Ryanair having over a million followers as of 20th August 2021. Almost all airlines have an account on Instagram and Twitter in which they use them to tempt users in with pictures of beautiful destinations or airline prices. But why did these airlines decide to switch from newspapers and billboards to social media?
A main reason for the switch is because social media is free, and everyone loves free stuff (especially multi-million pound companies). Some airlines just can’t afford to pay to have things plastered on to the side of roads when often they can be just as or less effective than advertising on social media. The rise of streaming services like Netflix,Disney + and Amazon Prime video are resulting in less people watching Television, and Spotify and Soundcloud put an end to listening to the radio as well. I know that personally from my experience, when I’m watching Television or listening to the radio when an ad break comes on, I will just switch the station or start looking at my phone instead of actually listening to or watching the adverts. If I could give a top tip to airlines advertising, it would be that as the attention span of a human gets shorter, the less money a company will make from advertising.
Another reason is that everyone can see social media. For instance, if there is a billboard Virgin Atlantic put up for advertising in West London, only people passing through or living in West London can see it, whereas everyone can see that billboard if it is put up on the internet. Some airlines even put quizzes on their pages to attract more viewers and paint the airline to be fun and friendly.
Credit: Ryanair’s Tiktok (Tiktok.com)
In early 2021, I wrote to the British Airways CEO Sean Doyle asking him when we could expect to see a British Airways TikTok account and the Head of PR and social media, Victoria Madden, got back to me saying that they weren’t ready yet. If we look at all the social media accounts from airlines, we can see that the main users are low cost, less traditional airlines like Ryanair,Spirit and EasyJet.
All in all, we can conclude that social media is the new way to go for advertising with airlines and their seducing pictures of beautiful destinations is the ultimate way to make money. In the end, it will always be the low cost market that are adventurous in their advertising and the ones who will make the most money.
from EasyJet Rising by Tony Anderson and from Ryanair’s TikTok Page