Indigo Airlines – when time is not in your control

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In my first advertising job, there used to be the ‘5-10 principle’. The essence of that principle is that advertising communication has two broad parts: what to say (strategy) and how to say it (creative execution). On the first part, you could either score a ‘zero’ or a ‘five’ i.e either right strategy or a wrong strategy -you can’t get a 2.5 on strategy – much like being half-pregnant is not an option. The creative then lifts the idea in many stages – from a 5 to a 10.

How, dear reader, would you rate the Indigo Airlines TV commercial? Hats off to the agency (W+K) and the production team (BangBang Films) in pulling off a slick, international class commercial. It looks good, is stylishly art directed and conveys the importance of being on time.

Point is, while the Indigo chefs, air hostesses and baggage handlers can wake up on time, they have very little control on the engineers & technicians at our airports. How often have we experienced the joy of a flight taking off on time only to land an hour late because of traffic congestion while landing (‘we are No.11 in the queue’) or sitting in an aircraft waiting for clearance to take off? All I am saying is that conveying the importance of being on time (and by association that the brand stands for on time performance) is fraught with danger in India. What say?

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  1. I think indigo stands a chance to be remembered as the on-time airline. Its a brave stance to take. They just need to put in an earnest effort and demonstrate enough concern for passengers time. Time is in nobody's control so indigo can earn brownie points for trying.

    The other airlines are either snobish,cheap or care less.

  2. Fascinating!!! Truely impressed. Also, I have flown Indigo often and do like the airlines. I think they do try hard on this whole on-time thing ……

  3. Point taken. Its risky. But from my experiences with Indigo, I'd say they run it pretty neatly.
    I don't know if its by design – but a challenge set internally (too), to ensure they run on time, cannot be a bad thing.
    PS. Thanks for the example, shall post soon 😀

  4. Indigo will have a great 'top of mind' with this ad, for sure. Also, the ad is interesting in the sense of humanising the usually 'mechanical' staff…..the pretty staff needs to get a make-up done to appear that way, the shot of chefs taking a shower before they go to work (implying cleanliness)….somehow, all these mundane activities strike a chord with the viewer and the thought that runs through your head, even as you're seeing the ad is, 'oh, look, they're trying to get ready on time for me'…..

  5. yeah ..definitely a risk taken in this kind of statement but then where is the stake involved (Remember the one RO machine Adv, a pregnant women drinking water directly from the machine)….looking at current scenario they bang it On Time .. oouch other airlines may get hurt

    • Thanks for the comment, Vishal. Yes, it does put pressure on the employees to deliver on the promise. But is the execution completely in the hands of the employees? Vagaries of airport officials, air traffic congestion etc., *may* have an adverse impact. For example, when Singapore Airlines romanticized their service and hospitality with their ‘Singapore girl’ campaign (‘a great way to fly’) the execution was entirely in the hands of the airline.

  6. Disha Kathuria Reply


    I agree with you completely. Only in the morning I was having a the same discussion with my colleague. We're pitching for a similar client and I want to keep it honest. And in my mind i asked myself does honesty mean I'm not taking the leap because the client might fail to back it up with their deliverable?

    So while I knew that this client currently has no distinct hook to hang on to, I also knew that there's point in having them promise something they'll never be able to look up to.

    Emotions, on that note, then become a safe bet. Trick is to use them in a relate-able fashion. These ads are beautiful to look at and and must have upped Indigo's profits, definitely their image but how much are they what Indigo is, concerns me. And sadly, it's a claim I can generalize for every product advertising is touching today.

    Cynical? Guilty!

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