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European aircraft-maker Airbus appeals direct to consumers

Published on .

TOULOUSE -- Airbus, the consortium of British, French, German and Spanish aircraft manufacturers, aims to boost its business - predominately in Asia - by appealing directly to consumers in a $23m global ad campaign through London-based Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper.

"This is a long-term commitment to a radical new approach," says Euro RSCG's Executive Director Paul Uhart. Previously Airbus has only advertised in trade or business press aimed at influencing airlines or leasing companies to buy its planes. "But a buying decision is never purely functional," Uhart says. "The partnership needs to generate more of a warm feeling around its planes so that buyers give them more consideration."

The 25-year old Airbus claims its sales are now equal to those of its only main rival, Boeing, in the sectors in which they compete. Airbus has no jumbo jets, but has plans for an even bigger plane, the A3XXX. The two operators are currently competing head to head for 400-500 new plane sales a year, each costing between $50m and $150m.

Airbus press and TV ads will initially show on a pan-Asian basis in media such as CNN Asia, Star Asia, Fortune and Time magazine but will eventually roll out to cover 100 countries around the world, moving onto terrestrial TV and into domestic press. The first such move will be into India. Asia is a high priority because of the market's rapid growth and need for long-haul journeys dictated by its size.

Consumer benefits such as low noise levels, comfort and space will be stressed in five different commercials aimed at "high level consumers and opinion formers," says Uhart.

The work is Euro RSCG's first since its appointment in June, when it shook Osprey Park off the account. Media is through Mediastar.

The consortium has ditched the word "Industrie" from its name, on the agency's recommendation, to make it more consumer-friendly. Its members are British Aerospace, Aerospatiale, Deutsche Airbus and CASA and it supplies airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.

Copyright September 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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