When Superstar Rajini-'Kabali'-kanth flew Air Asia

By Sunit Roy , afaqs!, New Delhi | In OOH News | July 29, 2016
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A look at how the airline brand turned a passenger flight into a crazy Kabali-themed experience.

We all have said it infinite times before, but we don't mind saying it again -- "Rajinikanth is undoubtedly - The Superstar". Even before the film released, the Rajinikanth starrer 'Kabali' became one of the much talked-about films in recent times. And, the buzz around it still refuses to die down. The film, which hit the theatres on July 22, has broken all records. As they say, "When it's Rajini, one can always expect the unexpected".

This is also true with the way Rajinikanth movies are promoted, and his latest film 'Kabali' is a case in point. The promo of this latest blockbuster is airborne! Hang on...

AirAsia's digital campaign '#AirAsiaKabali'

Cashing in on the Rajni-mania and to promote the Superstar's latest movie, AirAsia has launched the campaign '#AirAsiaKabali'. AirAsia India devoted a special livery to the Superstar and his die-hard fans. The low-cost carrier unveiled its all new rebranded aircraft i5, with a livery dedicated to the movie 'Kabali' earlier this month.

Bearing the image of Rajinikanth from the movie, the aircraft has been painted and stickered with the livery at the GMR maintenance repair and overhaul facility in Hyderabad. The team of over 100 skilled workers worked round the clock for over 250 hours to complete the job.

A look at Air Asia's branded flight from another angle

The entire process of rebranding the aircraft with the movie's poster was filmed and was uploaded on AirAsia's Facebook page, 'The making of the Kabali livery'. Until now, the video has registered 5.4 million views and 1,91,000 likes.

Amar Abrol

According to Amar Abrol, CEO, AirAsia India, liveries are common with AirAsia. AirAsia India has dedicated a livery to JRD Tata who pioneered aviation in India.

"When we decided to be the official airline partner of 'Kabali', we thought why not go that extra mile and dedicate a plane to the stalwart of Indian cinema Rajinikanth? It made sense to do it with an aircraft that flies in India, so as to create maximum visibility among the Indian audience. Only a superstar like him (Rajinikanth) calls for a dedication of this sort," says Abrol, adding, "Never in the history of Indian cinema has this been done for any other star. This is AirAsia's way of paying tribute to the Thalaivar and his fans across the globe."

The aircraft, in its new 'Kabali' avatar, took off on its first flight on July 1, 2016. Ever since, the Kabali livery aircraft is flying across the AirAsia India network of 10 destinations spanning Bengaluru, New Delhi, Goa, Pune, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Guwahati, Imphal, Vizag, and Kochi.

What's more, Rajnikanth fans were flown from Bengaluru to Chennai, to watch the movie! A total of 180 guests took the special flight i5 9227 from Bengaluru to Chennai in the early hours of July 22 to watch the film, amidst all the frenzy and celebrations in Chennai, along with the top brass from AirAsia India.

AirAsia guests at the Bengaluru Airport before boarding the special flight from Bengaluru to Chennai to watch 'Kabali'

As a welcome gesture, Rajini special glasses and shawls were placed on the seats of all guests. They (guests) were encouraged to showcase a few Rajini moves and gimmicks with their glasses and shawls to keep them engaged during the flight. The excitement did not end there; guests were also served a sumptuous Kabali special in-flight breakfast comprising Kuzhi Paniyaram and tomato thokku, favourites of the Superstar.

"The package was priced at Rs 7,860, and included return flight, on-ground transport in Chennai, special breakfast and lunch on board, interesting merchandise giveaways such as Kabali-branded T-shirts, AirAsia and Kabali-branded mugs, and 3D Kabali posters," informs Abrol. "We are also selling interesting Kabali-branded merchandise on board. Two lucky guests on board our special flight won a Kabali recliner (the one on which Rajinikanth sits through the movie) sponsored by the furniture brand JFA, that came on board with us for the promotion," he says.

Speaking of the promotions rolled out by AirAsia, Kalaipuli S Thanu, proprietor, V Creations, the production company that has made the movie, says, "It is for the first time in the history of Indian cinema that an airline has dedicated an aircraft to a movie. Only a superstar like Rajinikanth demands such popularity and fame, breaking barriers of age and geography."

According to Thanu, the airline is also planning several engagement activities for Rajini fans travelling on AirAsia flights across its network. "The 'Kabali' excitement is not just on ground, but also in the air when you fly with AirAsia," says Thanu.

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