Mairi Clark asks if cheap flights, casually dressed staff and doughnuts
will ensure EasyJet’s success
Appearance: Friends say he’s ‘exotic looking’
Income band: Consistent with a low-cost airline
Occupation: Sales and marketing director, EasyJet
Where were you before EasyJet?
I was at Thomas Cook working as European product development marketer
with Tony Bennett (the managing director of Going Places) and before
that I was on the graduate scheme in the marketing department of British
How can EasyJet manage to keep its prices lower than those of BA and
We do things differently. We cut out the middleman because we don’t use
travel agents. We don’t have to print tickets. And we don’t supply free
food, both of which cuts down on time and money. One of our ads even
said: ‘If you want a meal then go to a restaurant.’
Your prices are cheap. Is your service cheap? What are the flight
Our service is relaxed. When you book, you are given a PIN number, so in
that we’re a bit more advanced than the other airlines. You give your
PIN when you turn up for the flight. The cabin crew dress in sweatshirts
and jeans and are young. In fact, I’m probably the oldest in the
company. Because there is a relaxed atmosphere, passengers are relaxed.
Is it true you are planning to sell doughnuts during flights?
No. That appeared in one of the marketing magazines a couple of months
ago, but I don’t know where it came from. We are looking at franchising
food on the planes, but there’s nothing planned as yet.
Your sales number is painted on the side of your planes. Why?
We advertised on TV in the beginning, when our competitors decided to
discount their fares heavily because of our low prices. That worked. And
we have had our fair share of controversy with our press ads as well.
We like to do things differently. When we first put the number on the
planes, we asked people when they rang where they saw the number, and
there was a guy who said he was in his garden and saw one of the planes
overhead. It shows the importance of the direct sell - that we cut out
the middleman and that’s why we’re cheaper. People have to justify the
cheap flights in their heads.
All EasyJet’s advertising has been done in-house, but would you ever
consider signing up an ad agency?
If you’re selling water in a can at 100 times its face value, then you
need an agency to sell it. People buy EasyJet flights because they’re
cheap and reliable. They don’t need to be convinced by expensive TV ads.
Who are you aiming your service at?
People who understand the concept of value. People who pay for the fare
out of their own pockets. Increasingly, we are attracting corporate
customers because business people can fly to Scotland and back for less
than they can using BA.
One of your first ads said that EasyJet flights were as affordable as a
pair of jeans. When was the last time you bought a pair of jeans?
Six months ago.
What is your advertising style?
When we put up a poster with a snail on it and called Railtrack
‘Snailtrack’, BR put some posters up in their stations without looking
at the endline. We used the slogan, ‘Pinocchio’s favourite airline’
featuring a BA ad in it, after BA was rapped by the Advertising
Standards Authority for advertising fares that didn’t exist.