Singapore Airlines goes the length to impress

Good wine needs no bush, yet in the competitive environment some things are better said than implied. Singapore Airlines (SIA) has launched a new global ad campaign under the “the lengths we go to” umbrella. Simply put, the airline is saying nothing but the best will do in all it does for its customers, be it tea from Fujian in China or leather from Glasgow in Scotland for Business Class seats or movies that hint of the quality of Venice Film Festival standards.

Some critics see this as a shift of focus from the famed Singapore Girl to the customer, and SIA is quick to add that its iconic feminine symbol remains a protagonist in the story.

SIA_Ad_ScotlandIndeed, there is little that changes. It is typically SIA since its early days. The ads remain as soft and poetic as they used to be – the omnipresence of the Singapore Girl, a beautiful setting and the artistic touches that continue to conjure the romance of air travel. Remember the often quoted line, “it’s not the destination but the journey”? Unfortunately the aftermath of the 2009 economic crisis has dealt a blow to the romanticism when cost becomes a primary driver of consumer behaviour, not that the comfort factor is no longer important. In fact, as the competition intensifies, that can become a critical swing vote.

SIA correctly understands the importance of committing to the customer, as do other airlines that have launched new ad campaigns along similar lines albeit in different form and style. But if the visually appealing ads aim to capture that very essence, it has probably gone over the heads of the masses. The links between a remote Chinese tea plantation or an old Scottish tannery and quality service are at best suggested, if not verbalized. There is a hint of luxury and the unmistakeable bias towards the premium classes although SIA has said – and it is not to be doubted judging by its reputation – its commitment is to all classes.

SIA may have tried too hard to be different – in a way, going the lengths they go – yet finds it has remained very much the same. But its ads continue to exude the charm of the Singapore Girl even though some critics have opined that the image has become outdated. True, many airlines have ditched old images for new ones; there was a time when many of them boasted the hardware but invariably they come a full circle to delivering the customer message through featuring people, be they crew or customers themselves.

At its inception, the Singapore Girl did come across as somewhat an ambiguous concept, boosted by the by-line “Singapore Girl, you’re a great way to fly.” But it has become SIA personified. It might be foolhardy to do away with it altogether; why would you want to do it anyway?


About Dingzi
Writer by passion, with professional expertise in aviation, customer service and creative writing. Aviation veteran, author, editor and management consultant. Besides commentary on business issues and life-interest topics, travel stories and book reviews, genres include fiction, poetry and plays. Nature lover who abhors cruelty of any form to animals, and a tireless traveler. Above all, a dreamer.

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