Social media is becoming the new battleground for airlines chasing passengers and Jordan’s national carrier is flying higher than most with its witty trolling.
Royal Jordanian’s latest target was the French election.
That followed on from its marketing campaigns linked to Trump’s travel ban and the laptop and tablet restrictions by the US, the UK and Australia on flights from some Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East.
In response it came up with ’12 Things to do on a 12-hour flight with no laptop or tablet’.
The success of the tongue-in-cheek social media posts has proved you don’t have to have big budgets and celebrity endorsements to be effective
Khalil Attieh, account executive with the advertising and PR agency Memac Ogilvy, boasts: “In the short time we’ve been doing this – all the Royal Jordanian campaigns – they have received more than 600 million views and brand engagement, way beyond our expectations.”
Smile through difficult times
As far back as November 2016 the airline was poking fun at then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim travel ban.
The team published an ad headlined: ‘Just in case he wins, travel to the US while you’re still allowed to’.
Art Director at Memac Ogilvy, Hadi Alaeddin, said these ads were an attempt to reflect people’s sentiments at the time, and put a smile on their faces despite difficult circumstances.
“The Trump post, and the campaign we did at that time, were basically because the whole world was talking about the (US) elections, and in our opinion, good brands talk like people do, brands are people,” he said.
Trolling fills seats
The campaigns have been distributed via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and quickly went viral.
Royal Jordanian said they have pushed up overall ticket sales by 10 percent and increased sales to the US by 30 percent.
But as well as using humour to sell seats the airline is addressing serious issues with its latest video on discrimination titled ‘Are you afraid of flying?’.
It features a Middle-Eastern man who is treated suspiciously by other passengers based on his appearance.
In voiceover he says: “They look at me and only see a colour, a name, a beard, a book. I am not afraid of flying, but the people around me are afraid of me. People who are afraid discriminate, those discriminated against, they’re even more afraid.”
Royal Jordanian’s Chief Commercial Officer, Server Aydin, explained: “First of all we are not a political company, we are not interfering in any politics of any countries. But what we are seeing at the moment is, there is a problem of discrimination, not only in the airline industry and not only in the last six months or three months. This has been in the last five years, we are seeing that discrimination against people who we don’t know is increasing, we are making some groups the others, and those others are becoming more cornered, and once you are cornered, there is a lot of danger that is coming with it. We just wanted to point out that Royal Jordanian is against discrimination and we are supporting people we are fighting against it.”