EasyJet seeks to counter terror gloom with new ad

Brands should "lead" consumers through uncertainties such as terror attacks and Brexit, according to easyJet marketing director Peter Duffy.

The airline hopes to set an example with the launch of an energetic 12-month campaign by VCCP called "Why not?", which encourages travellers to be more spontaneous.

The main ad opens with a striking shot of a person covered in flowers running past an easyJet flight. 

It cuts to a woman stepping off the plane into a series of slightly surreal travel experiences. 

In one sequence, she is dressed in a suit and jumping up and down on a giant orange keyboard, presumably to highlight easyJet’s growing business offering. 

The spot also shows the variety of easyJet’s destinations, featuring the woman variously on the beach, on a city break and skiing.

"The idea encapsulates the energy of easyJet and the energy of an organisation that says: ‘Why not give it a go?’" Duffy said. "Why not go and do something that you haven’t done previously, perhaps that you weren’t able to do because it was too expensive."

"Why not?" launches in a year marked by the Brexit vote and multiple terrorist incidents in Europe.

In the three months to 30 June, easyJet’s revenue fell 2.6% year on year to £1.2bn, partly driven by the terror attack in Nice but also the EgyptAir crash and air traffic control strikes.

"Brands need to lead customers through this difficult time," Duffy said. "There’s a fundamental desire to travel – people want to do it and to feel safe doing it. It’s never been more important for brands to be confident in that positioning."

He added that VCCP’s creative work "articulates" that stance.

The campaign breaks during The X Factor on Saturday (17 September). The TV spot was created by Chris Birch and Jonny Parker, and directed by Canada through Canada London. 

It is supported by print, outdoor, digital display, cinema, video-on-demand and digital activity. There is also an experiential element comprising a hidden plane door in central London, which leads to a tour of an easyJet destination. 

Media is handled by OMD UK.

Terror impact on travel

Global terror attacks and Brexit have dented consumer confidence and hit budget airlines and tour operators. Declining demand has led to cheaper ticket prices, with Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary warning that the company may need to revise its full-year earnings guidance if prices keep falling. In its third-quarter results, easyJet noted weaker demand for the Middle East and North Africa. Thomas Cook reported that bookings to Europe were down 9% year on year for the quarter ended 30 June due to poor consumer confidence and the Brussels attacks.

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