Easyjet rolls out £50m mega-campaign – well it’s certainly different to British Airways

Which is presumably one of the things new agency VCCP was aiming for. Although it wouldn’t have known what the new BA campaign from Bartle Bogle Hegarty was going to look like it was a safe bet it wouldn’t take the surprisingly cheap and cheerful approach shown here – a kind of Butlins for Europe update.

Easyjet says the campaign, which features photographs by Elaine Constantine (or are they snaps?), is “vibrant, contemporary and distinctive.”

New easyJet marketing director Peter Duffy (who joined from Audi) says “Over the past 15 years we’ve connected more and more of the people of Europe by making travel easy and affordable. We’re really proud of this and it will continue to be at the heart of everything we do.”

On the face of it this doesn’t seem much of a strategy but maybe it’s easyJet’s way of differentiating itself from Ryanair (hardly the most user-friendly of companies) and posh carriers like BA and BA’s Iberia.

Whatever you think of it, the new campaign ‘Europe by easyjet’ seems to be erring on the side of caution. I wonder if more radical treatments were considered and rejected because of the ongoing row between the easyJet board, now led by former Guardian Media Group boss Carolyn McCall and easyJet founder (and 35 per cent shareholder) Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

McCall must have thought she’d got old Stelios off her back when she agreed to pay the company’s first dividend, a whopper £190m of which £72m goes to him. No such luck, he promptly announced that he was going to start a new airline all of his own called Fastjet, which is apparently aimed at challenging BA and Virgin on the transatlantic route (some good news for McCall there anyway).

But the last thing McCall and Duffy wanted was Stelios saying the new advertising was crap and why was easyJet blowing £50m, the supposed budget, on it?

Fans of VCCP, owned by Lord Bell’s Chime, may be a touch disappointed as the agency has recently excelled itself with new campaigns for client Molson Coors’ Carling and Coors Light.

But the agency has shown that it’s capable of more than just cutesy meerkats for Comparethemarket.com recently and, sometimes, you just have to give the client something that won’t scare the horses.

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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.