might remember the spin-off campaign that Kingfisher Airlines created on Jet Airways when the latter underwent a brand makeover last year. While Jet's outdoor campaign read, 'We have changed', Kingfisher came up with a strategically placed hoarding close by, which read, 'We made them change', to imply that it was competition from Kingfisher that prompted Jet to refashion its brand.
Exactly a year later, April 13 saw a similar ad war. Jet Airways put up an outdoor campaign for JetLite that said, 'Our smile lights up 502 flights to go over 50 cities every day' with pictures of their smiling staff. A couple of days later, Deccan put up its campaign right next to this, which said, 'We'd rather you smile :)', with pictures of their smiling customers.
Swapan Seth, chief executive officer, Equus Red Cell, who ideated the campaign, says it was just a quick reaction to something JetLite did. "I just landed at the airport, saw the JetLite campaign there, and went to the client with the idea I had."
He adds, "The entire intent was that while Jet was talking about the smiles on their faces, we thought that we'd add a little spin to it and talk about the smiles we bring to our customers' faces. This, therefore, attached to Deccan another layer, in terms of a personality of being young, agile, with-it, and reactive and on its feet, which actually stems from the brand kernel of Kingfisher Airlines. Now, since both these brands belong to the same stable, it was to add that consumer-centric focus as far as Air Deccan was concerned."
This idea was used for Deccan and not Kingfisher because the Jet campaign was for JetLite, says Seth.
He adds, "From a no-frills airline, which is how Air Deccan was conceptualised originally, I thought we'd move this to a 'few thrills' kind of thing. That's important - that you can be economical and yet sprightly and smart."
The campaign is being done only at the airport. Seth believes that these are tactics that don't need large sums of money in terms of a campaign idea, etc.
Seth says this kind of advertising just reflects a very dynamic market space in which brands sometimes talk to each other and in that manner also talk to consumers. "I'm sure when people see both the hoardings side by side, they will chuckle and say that obviously, there's a bit of a conversation going on between both the brands."
Is he worried about how Jet will react? "The point of the matter is that in these wars, you never know how long the war will carry on. I don't know whether Jet is going to respond, but if Jet does, and if we feel it important to react, we might, or we might just say enough of the game, let's get back to studying."
At the time of filing this report, the Jet Airways spokesperson was not available for comment.