Yes, today’s post is about Ryanair. You might ask (and justifiably so), what does Ryanair have to do with marketing art at all? As controversial as this low fare airline is, they have some very interesting ideas about marketing.
3 pillars of Ryanair’s value proposition
Perhaps the most important point is the way Ryanair thinks of customer value. Leaving all the airline industry cliches on the ground ( !), you won’t get a free drink, snack or hot towel on board of the most popular European airline. Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, sums up their alternative view of what customers really value as follows:
- a cheap flight
- an on-time flight
- promise we won’t lose your bags in between
That’s it. I fly Ryanair now and then and on these three, they almost always deliver. When they charge for check-in baggage, make you wait somewhere in a dim airport corridor prior to boarding (to make their famous 25 minute turnaround) or try to sell you anything from scratch cards and perfumes to smokeless cigarettes and liquor shots on board, it is only to be better able to deliver on the three points above. While this value proposition might not be very sexy, uncontroversial or human, it’s what people (over 75 million of them in 2011) ultimately choose over other value propositions. As Michael O’Leary sums it up: “Lower prices beat higher prices every time”.
Funny advertising beats boring advertising every single time
The second interesting strategy that Ryanair consistently employs is cheap, funny advertising. Now, the most effective way of getting free media coverage is to be not only funny, but funny in a controversial way, and this is something Ryanair really excels at. They are great at responding to current events, like the “bye bye skyeurope” on their planes following Sky Europe’s demise (above), or this banner on Ryanair’s website following Gérard Depardieu’s plane incident:
If you want to learn a bit more about Ryanair, their CEO and Brussels, this is a must watch (controversial+fun) video:
When leveraging remarkable advertising, where’s the border between marketing art and cheap controversy? Could Ryanair do something like the Olympics marketers? Do you like Ryanair? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or on out Facebook or Twitter.