Is Singapore Airlines a Caregiver or a Magician? (The Importance of Brand esSense #7)

Is it just me or does anyone else think that Singapore Airlines latest advertising doesn’t “feel” right? While it’s beautifully shot, it feels more like a trailer for a Disney fairy tale than a commercial for air travel (you can watch the ad here). Brand esSense is optimised when there is consistency across all touch points and senses, and in this commercial, titled “Making every journey personal” I don’t think there is any consistency.

In fact the title of the ad gives away the game about Singapore Airlines core values which are about service and comfort (Caregiver archetype in the StoryWorks framework). Yet the visual look and feel and the visual cues and symbolism of “Making every journey personal” are all about transformation (Catalyst archetype) which is very different in nature and much less personal and connected than the Caregiver. Being a Magician is very different to being a Protector and Comforter (and cold rather than warm, as are some of the execution’s visuals and the rather impersonal tone).

When did you last see a unicorn on your flight? The other disconnect with this advert, and something that advertisers are often prone to do when given a big budget, is to focus on creating a Hollywood or Bollywood style fantasy rather than keeping connected to reality. The overall impact of the ad is fantastical and not linked to anything that is credible or believable from flying with any airline. The only thing that truly connects back to the Singapore Airlines experience is the Singapore Girl.

Singapore Airlines have created a fantasy, while their customers are more concerned with reality. More fundamentally, this advert undermines the brand’s strengths and core values, and diminishes the emotional connection to the brand that “Making every journey personal” signifies. If they had stuck to that, we might have seen a very different ad and one that will strengthen those associations. In the end, the visual look and feel of the ad will be remembered much more than the title and tagline.

But then again, perhaps Singapore Airlines are set on changing their personality? As we’ve written in other posts, that’s usually a big mistake.

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