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When TV Ads Work: The Korean Air Commercial via [sellingtoconsumersblog]

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Perhaps you’ve seen the Korean Air TV advertisements that have been airing for some time in the U.S. Although I have not yet flown Korean Air, I’m ready to. The message in the advertisements have reached a tipping point with me, and their excellence in flight message has hit home in my psyche. Here’s the ad:

So how did I, a consumer and frequent business traveler, reach the point where I am ready to try Korean Air’s product? The right message at the right time. After dozens of mediocre experiences in flight, I want some excellence. I need some excellence.

From the first time I saw the Korean Air ads a couple years ago, I took notice. And with repeated viewing, their impact has Here’s why:

1. Understated elegance.

In an industry that has become decidedly unelegant almost all the time, the understated elegance of the ad’s production attracts attention. Wonderful chill music by Robert Matt, a simple message, and a relaxing vibe sucks the viewer in.

And I want one of those turquoise martini drinks.

The takeaway: In an era of marketing overstatement, be understated instead.

2. It’s different.

We might be familiar with seeing ads like this for fragrances or spas, but not for airlines. Watch this Continental Airlines ad. See how it’s style contrasts with Korean Air’s commercial.

Hear the frantic music? See the high-energy video? While everyone likes to fly on new planes (the key message of the Continental ad), Korean Air makes a statement simply because it’s different from typical business-as-usual airline advertisements. No splashy colors (merely predominant muted grays along with splashes of turquoise); no frantic panning and zooming of the image (gentle, dreamy visuals instead); no typical hyper-business voiceover (just a few words spoken in total, and with pleasing and calm speech)…these equal a “pay attention” vibe, and it works.

Can flying really be a sensual experience?

The takeaway: If you want to stand out, be different.

3.It has a simple message.

Airlines haven’t been talking much about excellence lately. It’s nice to see and hear, especially when a customer probably has visuals of recent airline crashes stored somewhere in their memory. “Excellence in flight” is digestible, it’s meaningful, and it resonates with viewers. I don’t know if it’s true, but the goal of marketing is not accuracy, it’s more revenue.

The takeaway: Messages with less are often more effective than messages with more.

Now, would a company in Seoul please hire me for a sales training project or speaking engagement so I can try out Korean Air? I need a little excellence in flight.

And I like kimchi.





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