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Gaming your way to business class

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To raise awareness for the launch of their new business class cabins in Asia, Air France gave more than 400 unsuspecting passengers in Changi, Singapore and Kansai Airport the chance to compete for a free seat upgrade just before boarding their flight.

The airline transformed the gates into gaming arenas and invited the flyers to download the “Cloud Slicer” mobile/tablet game app (a bit like flappy bird, but with clouds), with results ranked on leader boards for all to see. Top scorers enjoyed business class for the 12 hour flight to Paris, while runners up were upgraded to premium economy. All the antics were filmed, with over 1 million views on Youtube and #upgradechallenge used for integration throughout social media shares. Have a look at the resulting ad here;

A toned down version of the challenge has since been integrated into permanent Air France marketing activities across Asia, with top scorers of the month in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan competing for the golden ticket upgrades on their next flight to Paris.

The AirFrance campaign is the latest in a flurry of experiential marketing efforts we have seen from airlines in the last few months. Canadian airline WestJet and Greek’s Aegean Airline used the festive season to provide a magical experience for flyers. WestJet played Santa, providing customers on two Calgary-bound flights on Christmas Eve with a Christmas surprise on arrival in the form of gifts they had wished for upon boarding. Aegean Airline, meanwhile, used the concept of flying back in time to give those lucky enough to have seats aboard a mystery flight the chance to celebrate New Year’s Eve twice.

In a market as competitive as the airline industry, it is crucial for brands to differentiate themselves from competitors with their marketing efforts. Playing on and leveraging the fact they are offering a unique experience to flyers is therefore vital, and experiential campaigns could well be the most useful tool available in showcasing this idea.


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