Whether the hugely successful Emirates advertising campaign Keep Discovering had truly run its course and intended lifespan of if competitive shakeups of markets and market shares prompted the powers that be in Dubai to get cracking on a new theme, is now rather immaterial but for post event analysis. Fact is that Emirates, the award winning national airline of Dubai has changed tack and the destinations served will soon see the new campaign unfold. Here in Eastern Africa this will be seen in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania where Emirates is now facing new competitors from their own back yard, following the start of daily flights on April 01 by Etihad to Nairobi and the rollout of Qatar Airways new East Africa network, which will over the next few months add Kilimanjaro, Mombasa and Zanzibar to their already as far as Gulf airlines go greatest selection of destinations after recently adding Kigali (once a day) to Entebbe (once a day) , Nairobi (twice a day) and Dar es Salaam (twice a day rising to thrice a day). Of course Emirates has now phased out the stop enroute to Entebbe in Addis Ababa, by the explanation of one of my regular sources due to operational reasons but for all industry analysts know as a result of market pressure since the arrival of Qatar Airways in early November, which turned passenger lamentations into a torrent of demands to cut out the added stop and go NONSTOP on the route.
The huge billboards across the cities of East Africa and at airports, but also the newspapers, weeklies and leading magazines are now bracing for a wave of orders to feature Emirates new Hello Tomorrow campaign ads, which company executives describe as moving from a globally known travel brand to a new lifestyle brand and which according to a statement availed by a source at the airlines Kampala office says will inspire people to greet tomorrows unlimited potential now.
The good news for travelers will be that the intensified battle to fill the added seats flying to and from East Africa will benefit them with special deals and extraordinary offers, inspite of the current high of global aviation fuel prices, allowing many more to fulfill a lifetime dream of traveling the world by connecting via Dubai, or via Abu Dhabi and Qatar for that matter as neither Etihad nor Qatar Airways are expected to take this latest marketing offensive lying down. The established European carriers too will be eyeing this latest marketing and advertising offensive by Emirates with concern, and at least one airline executive in Kampala has already indicated; I have not heard about that but if Emirates starts a major campaign, just like with mobile companies here in Uganda, I dont think any of the other airlines will just sit still. They will all have to react one way or another. We have a lot of capacity now in Uganda which needs filling and I gather in Nairobi the pressure is even greater. I cannot right now say how our head office will respond but be sure that there will be a response before requesting not to name either his airline or his name to avoid controversy.
Meanwhile will all eyes be watching the spaces in their dailies or on the billboards along the way to work, to see what Emirates and their advertising gurus have schemed up. Watch this space as I say Hello Tomorrow to you too.