I often visit Finland which makes me a regular passenger on Finnair. It is an enjoyable airline with a generous service by a crew that always makes you feel warmly welcome.
It is very Finnish – balanced, down to earth, reliable, with liters of filter coffee and elegant in it’s simplicity.
But as all things Finnish, there is that touch of refreshing quirkiness.
The Finns have this way of making me giggle and it is that refined national sense of humor that always keeps me coming back for more.
As someone who is interested in the art of marketing, the ad to the right really got me going a couple of years ago, it was so refreshing to see an airline portray itself so daringly.
We all know that companies need to find stories that can arouse our interest in their brands, but for airlines there is an extra challenge. They live in a tight space when it comes to creativity. What defines these narrow boundaries is the perception that fliers probably wouldn’t want their airlines to start behaving weirdly because it may erode the confidence in a carrier’s ability to provide safe travel.
You want an airline to look reliable and capable rather than adventurous, wouldn’t you?
What more can airlines really tell us about comfort, safety, service and reliability? We take these things for granted and experience these messages as if they were elevator music.
I recently experienced my first in-flight WIFI session on Norwegian Air, today this could be a fancy selling point but it would probably have a short shelf life because this kind of service is due to become an industry-wide commodity in no time. You could offer more leg space but margins are already too tight to absorb a lower passenger count. As an airline marketer, it would seem that the walls are closing in on what is already a tight place.
However, Finnair has found an interesting way to enlarge its creative space by coming up with a set of stories that somehow makes them the swan amongst the ducks.
They chose the future as their marketing theme.
Could it possibly be that with this theme of a sci-fi shaped carrier fleet, are they implicitly telling us that they will be around for some time and are well ahead of the game? Who knows, but what is for sure is that this silly punt into the future can make us dream, giggle or both.
Finns never really take themselves too seriously and you are often left wondering if they are just playing games with your mind. Maybe Finnair is dead-serious about their future hydrogen powered space fleet, but that is for you to wonder about and for them to know. This is the kind of tension that keeps it all very fun.
Then, to make things even more interesting, they bring out a retro-plane (pictured below).
What you are seeing here is the Silver Bird that was introduced for the airline’s 85th anniversary. Finnair kitted out a very modern Airbus A319 in the style of the airline’s old 1950s Convair. Inside the plane, everything is 50s-themed, right down to the flight attendants’ uniforms and the 1950s duty free and collectables on-board. Who could have though that an airline can be so much fun!
I may be getting carried away by all this but if they are trying to get our attention, they certainly got mine in full! How ingenious is it to fool around with their fleet without even risking the confidence their passengers may have in Finnair’s ability to safely fly people around the world.
Turning the world upside up
For a country that hosts a few longitudes of the arctic circle, you wouldn’t intuitively expect its airline to entertain the core value proposition of taking you to Asia.
However, Finnair found an unusual way to show us that, as remotely located as Finland may seem, it is actually closer to Asia than you would intuitively believe it to be. All it took was to project the world map from an arctic perspective – this is again kind of refreshing now that we have all grown accustomed to Mercator’s rectangular projection of the world map.
This is another classic example of the fascinating Finnish logic in its best form.
To round it all up, here is a video clip that you will probably find outright silly. Personally, I am hoping that it wasn’t the airline that put this one together…but then again, you never know with these guys, do you?