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Does former Audi man Peter Duffy’s arrival at Easyjet signal a change of strategy for cheap flights?

Well they could certainly do with it and new Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall, latterly of the Guardian Media Group, has certainly made her intentions clear by hiring Audi UK marketing director Peter Duffy as her marketing boss.

For years the cheap flights market has been dominated by Ryanair, Michael O’ Leary’s creation which has combined cheap prices, (fairly) reliable flights and a complete contempt for its customers into a package which has made it Europe’s biggest airline.

Easyjet has been hamstrung by its feud with founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou over the use of the ‘easy’ name for his various other ventures (few of which have flown) and the company has failed to cash in on its position as the budget airline that might treat you with a bit of respect.

McCall was a classy CEO of GMG even though the jury is still out on her various commercial forays. Buying Auto Trader was a triumph, EMAP anything but.

But the appointment of Duffy signals that she wants to do things the right way.

His choice of agency will be key – will it be long time Audi agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which could do with a result as much as Easyjet?

And what medium do you choose? Cheap flights are about offers at short notice so it’s press and digital mostly.

And how might Ryanair react to an Easyjet ad blitz? More late nights for Michael O’Leary at the kitchen table with his magic marker and assorted sycophants?

Could be interesting, if McCall and Duffy are up the the challenge.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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