Home > News > Regional
Tuesday September 3, 2013 MYT 10:08:00 AM
Tuesday September 3, 2013 MYT 10:09:48 AM
SHE may be taking a back seat in the latest marketing campaign, but top brass at Singapore Airlines say the SIA Girl is far from over the hill.
They said her role has become more critical as the carrier increasingly relies on top-quality service.
“The essence of the Singapore Girl and her gentle, caring ways remain especially relevant today,” said SIA executive vice- president (commercial) Mak Swee Wah.
“In this ever-changing world, it is even more important for service excellence to be the key differentiator.”
This contrasts with days gone by, when SIA led the pack with superior hardware, new planes, flat beds and the latest in-flight movies. Now, these are offered by all top-tier carriers, including Emirates and Cathay Pacific.
In this more competitive environment, the iconic Singapore Girl remains a feature of every branding drive.
“What has changed is the way she is portrayed,” said SIA acting senior vice-president (sales and marketing) Chin Yau Seng.
The airline’s latest S$5mil (RM12.6mil) campaign, being launched today, took more than a year to make and cuts across print, television and digital platforms in more than 120 countries. There are three commercials shot in China, Italy and Scotland – all feature the Singapore Girl.
But unlike in the last branding exercise, the spotlight is not on her.
“We are putting the whole focus on the customer,” said Chin. “The SIA Girl, who obviously plays a very big role in all the ads, is a symbol of the lengths we go to for our customers.”
Critics have called the Singapore Girl outdated. But Chin said not many brands have a living, breathing icon. “No matter what, this remains a very strong point in our own marketing and we don’t intend to move away from it because it is very rare.”
Professor Jochen Wirtz of the National University of Singapore, who co-authored a book on SIA called Flying High In A Competitive Industry: Secrets Of The World’s Leading Airline, said it made sense for to capitalise on the Singapore Girl image.
“Featuring new routes, new technologies or new products can be done periodically to position an airline as a leader in the industry, but it is not a powerful positioning in the long run,” he said. “There has to be the superior overall experience on board delivered by crew supported by superior products and processes.”
Singapore Management University associate professor of marketing education Seshan Ramaswami said the iconic Singapore Girl has served the airline well. But, he added that the image of an attentive Asian woman “may convey a negative stereotype of Asian women not in keeping with the tremendous strides in professional success of women the world over, and in Asia too”. —The Straits Times / Asia News Network
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)