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February 3, 2014


We’ve been having a bit of a disagreement in The Cabinet this week about what we think of the new RyanAir ads that are running in the press. Some of us, myself included, believe these ads highlight everything that is wrong with the brand and clearly demonstrate that nothing is really going to change at O’Leary Towers. All this talk of caring about customers and how things are going to be so different is pure hot air, and these ads simply emphasise this.


Zero care, zero craft and zero understanding that customers are in fact human beings ie. emotional creatures. The ads are cheap, blunt and their directness, however refreshing, will only disappoint punters the next time they fly with the airline as they experience that nothing has changed.


How can I be so sure of this? Well the systems that are in place structurally, are far too expensive in terms of time and money to adapt and change – and Michael O’Leary just doesn’t have it in his bones to change. He is obsessed with price and he will never understand that customers are willing to pay a little more for an experience that makes them feel good… even a little.


The other side of the argument, put forward by several of my colleagues, is that the ad is actually a very clever play and goes against the grain of all other ads out there. They argue that it works on two levels, one, that it stands out because it is so unproduced (anti-design) and two, it sends a strong message to customers that they are making these promises and are demonstrating their commitment to passengers by not spending their money on advertising but on them and the experience instead. 


However much I like this line on thinking I just don’t buy it in this case. RyanAir is not a ‘thoughtful’ business and operates far more like a low budget retailer than a value one like Easyjet. The truth is that they just haven’t thought that hard about it and this is my biggest gripe. There is no excuse for not thinking things through and then executing them accordingly.One way or another this is either a piece of marketing genius or as I suspect, a dogs dinner from a business that is a one trick pony.

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