A few weeks back Qantas launched its new brand campaign ‘No one travels like Australians – and no one takes us to the world like Qantas.’
In case you didn’t see it, then take a look here:
You will have recognised the jingle, which is an unexpected rework of the 1950’s ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ song. I quite like it.
I also quite like the production values.
Its creators, Clemenger BBDO Sydney, say it taps into Australians’ love of travel and highlights Qantas’ extensive international and domestic network.
I like the insight that we Aussies love our travel – and because every international trip we make is a long-haul flight, then we really must love it.
It cleverly talks to the over 1,000 destinations Qantas, with its airline partners, flies to – from Yosemite to Kyoto to South Africa.
In fact, it works pretty hard as a well thought-through and crafted communication.
Except for one problem.
Good advertising is one of the components of a successful marketing mix, but central to all successful marketing is a great product.
As Kevin Systrom, the co-founder of Instagram, said, ‘Great products sell themselves.’
But Qantas’ product is not what it used to be.
You see, for as long as I’ve been flying I’ve been a rusted-on Qantas advocate. Anywhere I went, internationally or domestically, Qantas was always my first choice. I’ve always loved what Qantas stood for. I thought their product was very good.
But now, in a sea, or should I say sky, full of budget airlines, Qantas has done a ‘David Jones’ on me.
In other words, it has reduced costs to compete with its many competitors and in the process has lost what it stood for.
Now I’m not sure what it is. Premium airline? Budget carrier? Mid-market offer?
Many of the Qantas aircraft I board these days are tired. And many of their staff appear to feel the same way. And lots of the little extras seemed to have disappeared.
Yet on many routes, they are far from the cheapest.
Some time ago I switched to Virgin on the Brisbane/Los Angeles route and I haven’t looked back. Newer aircraft. Enthusiastic crew. Good airport facilities. And better priced than Qantas.
Whilst I applaud Alan Joyce for the turn-around he’s achieved at Qantas, I worry that their product is now misaligned with their advertising.
I see this new campaign for Qantas and it sets expectations for me which I know Qantas won’t live up to.
As I said in a recent blog post, being a ‘say’ brand these days just won’t cut it.
The ‘do’ brands that actually work hard to deliver a superior product will thrive.
That’s what today’s consumers expect.
I wonder if Qantas’ new campaign will fail to smooth over the flaws in the Qantas product?
What do you think?
Paul Cornwell is a Managing Director at BCM