In recent years, it’s become increasingly popular to use the outside of all types of vehicles for advertising. A brand identity can be displayed to large numbers of potential customers while the vehicle is on the move or parked up.
Aircraft offer an attractively large surface area for brands to take advantage of and some airlines now sell advertising space on their aircraft.
Budget airline Ryanair announced their advertising options earlier this year. They offer a choice of four fixed positions on the aircraft, where third party adverts can be placed.
Air New Zealand win the award for the world’s largest plane decal, taking over 400 hours to complete on a Boeing 777 in 2012. Featuring characters from The Hobbit, this theme was also taken inside the aircraft, with the aircraft crew wearing pointy ears for the first flight.
Taiwanese Airline Eva Air recently unveiled their new “Hello Kitty” branded aircraft flying between Taipei and Los Angeles, adding to Hello Kitty aircraft already flying between airports across Asia. The Hello Kitty theme also extends inside of the aircraft, passengers receive Hello Kitty boarding passes and are served Hello Kitty meals.
Private jets offer a bespoke approach to aviation, and so it follows when it comes to the branding opportunities.
Obviously aircraft owners can choose to paint their aircraft in their own permanent livery. But with such a tiny minority of private jet users choosing the commitment of owning an aircraft these days, it’s becoming increasingly popular for clients to request a temporary, customised exterior when chartering an aircraft for a special event or tour.
The effect can be subtle, such as a small logo, or the entire aircraft can be covered in a bespoke design or colour. The sky is literally the limit when it comes to private jet branding.
Pop stars, luxury brands & charities
The approach is popular with pop stars, and certainly helps to add wow factor to their tour – securing extra column inches.
Robbie Williams recently went for a relatively subtle ‘RW’ initial design on the tail of his tour jet.
Others take a bolder approach, such as rock band The Killers, who recently had their name emblazoned all along the side of their chartered Embraer EMB-145, for their 2013 European summer tour.
It’s not such a new idea either. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were amongst a handful of big names who enjoyed flying around in their own branded aircraft.
Iron Maiden’s aircraft even came with an Iron Maiden branded pilot, lead singer Bruce Dickinson – who remains a private jet pilot today (read more in Top 10 Celebrity Pilots).
These days of course, its not just pop stars that are attracted to this most luxury of advertising mediums. Jewellery designer Fabergé worked with an aircraft operator earlier this year, to produce a bespoke tail design for a Bombardier Global 6000.
The design was produced by Turner Prize nominated artist Ian Davenport and featured one of the master jeweller’s iconic eggs.
The campaign included giving passengers the option to buy limited edition jewellery in the cabin.
Other brands take a bolder approach and wrap the entire aircraft in a new design.
For aviation conference EBACE earlier this year, operator Hangar8 covered one of their aircraft in eye-catching Zebra stripes, to promote its business growth in Africa.
It can also be an attention-grabbing way to promote a worthy cause, with UK charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer turning an aircraft’s nose pink last summer.
How does aircraft branding work?
Obviously owners of aircraft can choose to have a full respray. But when chartering an aircraft, the most popular method of branding is to use removable vinyl decals. These are essentially giant stickers, produced according to a required design and then expertly applied to the aircraft. They can be removed again after the campaign has finished. This is the same method used for temporary branding of cars, but of course, there are extra challenges and complications when dealing with a very expensive, airborne vehicle. It’s a specialist art.
Recently we had the PrivateFly logo applied to an aircraft, for a special TV project with ITV’s The X Factor, working with vehicle branding specialists Raccoon. Raccoon design and produce temporary wraps for vehicles of all types, from cars and buses, to aircraft – they have wrapped two capsules of The London Eye and the side of large buildings.
Director Gary Parker commented: “You can produce a wide variety of effects for aircraft. Finishes range from gloss or metallic, to full colour wraps. The key consideration is durability as the material needs to withstand extreme cold and altitude when the aircraft is in flight – but also come off again cleanly when the campaign is over! It also needs to be ultra conformable so that it sticks over the curves.
“Once the design has been agreed and produced, our applications team will spend a great deal of time positioning it with magnets, to make sure it is in exactly the right place. Then they use special heat guns to bond the material to the aircraft’s exterior. It can be quite a complex and precise job, especially when large areas of the fuselage are being covered, so requires a lot of training.
“When you are working with such an expensive vehicle, it’s obviously essential to make sure everything is absolutely right”.
For advice on bespoke branding for private jets, speak to our 24-hour Operations team on +44 1747 642 777