The digitalization has taken the world by the storm, with the digital marketing taking control of everything around us, we witnessed a trend that quietly poured in and took over an important position in marketing today. Promoting products and services on the social media sites is becoming familiar, with the top most position occupied by Facebook and Facebook marketing campaigns which are the most popular medium for digital marketing.
One such well-known case of a Facebook marketing campaign was by AirAsia to promote online, the launch of flights from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur. AirAsia chose Facebook to promote the launch, and the marketing campaign went viral and so popular, it is famously known as “AirAsia’s Friensy Social Marketing Campaign.”
AirAsia was established by a government-owned conglomerate, DRB-Hitcom in 1993. AirAsia started its operations on 18 November 1996 and was sold to former Tim Warner executive Tony Fernandes’ company Tune Air Sdn Bhd on 2nd December 2001 as the airline was heavily indebted, for a token sum of just one ringgit which was about US$0.26 at that time with debts worth $11 million. The following year took a U-turn for AirAsia when the company made profits in 2002 under Fernandes.
AirAsia, ‘Now everyone can fly,’ is a Malaysia based low-cost airline with the headquarters near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is one of the largest airlines in Malaysia regarding fleet size and destination, covering 25 countries and more than 165 destinations. AirAsia has successfully achieved a name and reputation in the market, becoming a choice of people for traveling with small budgets to fly.
In the year 2012 AirAsia stepped its foot in the Australian continent with flights from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur. The presence of AirAsia was insignificant in the Australian market and faced huge competition with from airlines like Jetstar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways and Emirates. AirAsia felt the need to be heard and seen in the market otherwise it would have disappeared into oblivion with these giant names in the play, AirAsia stood no chance and hence decided on to launch a marketing campaign, to increase the brand awareness and be heard.
It is here, where the challenge came. AirAsia was an unheard of name in the Australian continent, the stiff competition with names that had trust and a marketing campaign budget so weak, everything seemed a farce. AirAsia wanted to start daily flights from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur and a target to double the flights within a span of 2 years, all they had was a meager advertising budget of $80,000. The airlines hired Publicis Mojo to achieve this task that looked impossible to achieve.
Publicis Mojo decided a launch of the Facebook campaign in the form of a contest. The said contest would give the winner the opportunity to fly on the Airbus 330, the most coveted asset of AirAsia with 302 of the person’s Facebook friends. The best part was that user could choose the seats for all of the friends. The package was not limited to this; AirAsia would further fund a three-day vacation for all of them in Kuala Lumpur along with the return to Sydney in their private jet.
A Facebook App was then developed by Publicis Mojo that enabled the users to view all the amenities that would be included in the in-flight provisions. The app would let the users see the features of the plane and the perks that would come along with it. The app needed to be registered by one Facebook user.
Once entry was completed, fans could share a photo of their plane with those tagged on board and invite others to enter. It allowed fans to engage with the brand actually while familiarizing themselves with the main product attributes along the way.
This Facebook campaign became one of the most talked about viral campaigns ever. It’s one of the examples of clever marketing campaigns that achieved an all-time high brand awareness campaign launched on April 10, 2012, with Facebook ads, a highlight Page post, new cover image and video post promoting this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A variety of Page posts were made throughout the campaign encouraging fans to join in the fun that would encourage mass engagement. Soon the news spread everywhere, and even CNN covered it in their Newshour.
An estimated $1.7 million worth of PR value was generated out of this campaign which is huge if you consider the amount that was invested in the campaign. The social media campaigns increased the Facebook fan base of AirAsia by 30% with 12,500 registrations and engagement with 2.3 million people on Facebook. The numbers evaluated to 20% of Australians using Facebook.
Hence the results were bigger than expected for AirAsia, which was on its way of achieving its target of doubling daily flights within a year. AirAsia, regarding marketing objectives, achieved a load factor of 82.5% on all ex Sydney routes. The viral campaign won gold, two silvers, and bronze at the Brisbane Art Directors Club.
Julie Anne Foster won the competition and with her 256 others got to Sydney Airport and boarded an AirAsia Airbus A330 for a three-day adventure in Kuala Lumpur on November 2, 2012.
The success that AirAsia gained can’t be quantified. It set out an example that big money is not required to create a viral campaign like this. In the history of best viral marketing campaigns, this Facebook campaign by AirAsia would certainly be remembered. There are very many ways and platforms to create online marketing campaigns; one has to catch the true pulse of the market. It is hence required to put the right decision in the right direction and creating a campaign with intellectual smartness rather than with big money.
One certainly cannot put a price tag on the creativity, be it for social media campaigns or otherwise. What Publicis Mojo did sets a different league of concepts in which online marketing campaigns would be considered and conducted, as the campaign was brilliant, indeed one of the most clever marketing campaigns.