Japan Airlines hires M&C Saatchi for new global positioning

The airline is looking for greater differentiation in the US, Europe and Asia.

An image from a recent JAL branding campaign
An image from a recent JAL branding campaign

Japan Airlines has appointed M&C Saatchi Japan to work on a new global branding strategy in the run-up to Tokyo 2020. The move follows a pitch that included four agencies.

M&C Saatchi said JAL will target the US, Europe and Asia with TVCs and YouTube content. Other elements relating to brand identity will launch over the coming three years.

JAL is an official airline partner of Tokyo 2020. M&C Saatchi did not give details as to what direction the branding strategy will take, but said the message would "reflect Japan Airlines’ unique position, while differentiating it from other airlines".

The brand became Japan’s first international airline in 1951. Beyond that, it is not immediately clear what its unique position is.

ANA, its closest competitor, is also an official partner and, according to Campaign's Top 1,000 Brands study, is the more popular brand in Japan. This year saw ANA at 39 and JAL at 57.

Regionally, however, JAL has the upper hand. It ranked at 258, 105 places above ANA. At the same time, ANA has been especially active in developing content designed to capitalise on the continuing surge in inbound visitors to Japan.

A version of this article was first published by Campaign Asia-Pacific