Air France

Objective

Objective

Forget the middleman? Not Air France. In a recent campaign, the luxury airline chose to target the travel managers at big Toronto-based corporations in the hope of influencing which airline they book their bosses to fly with.

Strategy

‘Breaking through to the business audience is a challenge,’ says Rapp Collins Worldwide VP client services Ellen Zabitsky. While the airline had made solid inroads into the Quebec market, targeting execs in Toronto, where Air Canada and Aeroplan have a stronghold, has been much more difficult. So Rapp Collins targeted the ‘decision makers’ with a highly styled piece geared at ‘the travel manager who [normally] doesn’t

do the flying,’ explains Zabitsky.

First, travel managers had to ‘pre-qualify.’ An initial list zeroed in on those with very sophisticated business travel needs and budgets from $200,000 to $500,000 a year, like pharmaceutical and oil companies.

Next, a sleek package designed as a gift was couriered to the travel managers. Inside were a personalized letter, a leather passport holder and a business class ticket upgrade allowing the recipient (or their boss) to have the Air France flight experience. To use the ticket, the prospect had to simply set up a meeting with an Air France rep.

The package also included a mock passport revealing maps of Air France’s destinations, a mock cheque detailing the prospective savings of flying with the airline, and a brochure highlighting the luxe offerings of the Air France experience, such as lie-flat seats.

Overall, the DM piece was created to relate three different brand elements, says Zabitsky: the exceptional Air France brand experience, the strength of the airline’s network and the potential savings of switching from Air Canada.

Results

The campaign launched in spring 2005, but is an ongoing effort because of its success, says Zabitsky. To date, contract signings are 20% over the objective, with a roughly 5% conversion rate. And the promotion generated ROI roughly 17 times the investment based on projected revenues.

Jerome Dufour, marketing manager, Air France

Shelley Sutherland, VP/CD

Barb Williams, associate CD

Mark Porter, copywriter

Serena Lawrie, AD

Ellen Zabitsky, VP client services

Rachel Connell, account supervisor

Christina Phillips, account executive

Lisa Reid, production manager