Earlier this week, Singapore Airlines (SIA) launched its latest global brand campaign titled “Welcome to World Class” which has now caught the attention of Cathay Pacific marketer Edward Bell - and has stirred up conversation within the LinkedIn community debating on the similarities and differences. Neither Cathay Pacific nor Bell responded officially to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s queries at the time of writing.
However, on Bell’s personal post, he says “I can't help notice that it strongly resembles what we did several years ago?” The “Life Well Travelled” campaign by Cathay was launched in 2015 and was created by McCann and released in 2015. Here are the ads in question:
On Bell's post, commentators have chimed in on the similarity of the ads especially in the likeness of storyline and execution. Others have also shared that the similarity comes due to the portrayal of travel, but that the difference lies in the protagonist which is the Singapore Girl and her life, once she takes off the uniform. Singapore Airlines too did not comment to queries made by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.
Manifesto films tend to have similarities
In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Sagar Paranjpe, former head of marketing strategy and creative at Malaysia Airlines, said that in both instances the campaigns made by the brands embraced their own versions of travel. “An original thought is very hard to come by these days - and while neither Cathay nor SIA have come up with one, it is how you make an unoriginal thought your own that matters, and that's what they've both done,” he said.
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He also pointed out that one clear difference is in how Cathay is telling the story through the eyes of the consumer whereas Singapore Airlines is focusing on the travels presented by the cabin crew - and that the crew have a broadened world class perspective. The similarity in his view ends at a woman travelling the world and enjoying the experiences. “Even the tone of their call to action is different. Cathay has alluded to travelling with them by saying 'travel well'. Singapore Airlines says it outright, 'Get a world class travel experience when you travel with Singapore Airlines,” he said.
Creative execution wise, Paranjpe added that Cathay’s ad is lighthearted, even humorous at some points, whereas SIA's execution is more cinematic and grander, heavier in some places.
Schrene Goh, former marketer of Malaysia Airlines also shared that most of the brand or destination videos will somewhat look the same showcasing travel destinations within their network. "While both video looks similar, SIA has taken on this brand position consistently to showcase destination through their iconic cabin crew, much like its inflight safety video back in 2020,” she said.
Sharon Koh, former marketer at Scoot, said that the messaging of the brands was "completely different", but that she agreed that the styles of the ads were similar. “I’m not sure too how much of this was inspired by the Cathay ad,” she said, adding that often, manifesto films tend to have similarities.
“It definitely not the only execution I’ve seen that looks similar," she added.
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