Zen of flight: ANA begins $5 mil effort

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With global business travelers on a never-ending quest for more room onboard, All Nippon Airways stresses in a new ad campaign how well it uses its available space.

In a print ad from Y&R Advertising, New York, set to break next month, the Japanese airline tells Western consumers that some Japanese gardens may be "no larger than a dining room table." But all maximize natural elements to "provide visitors with a sense of peace, tranquility and fulfillment, regardless of the space available."

The ad's dominant image is of an elderly man in distinctive Japanese dress standing in a lush and luminous rock garden. The text plugs amenities such as in-flight workspace and an onboard bar, as well as the airline's more conventional bid to compete in the "space race" with a fully flat reclining seat.

It's one of two ads in a $2 million to $5 million campaign set to run through the first half of next year in magazines such as Time, Fortune, the Harvard Business Review and The Asian Wall Street Journal.

With both ads full-page, it marks a slight change in media strategy for Asia's largest carrier. In 2000, some ads ran on a third of a page opposite full-page ads for the Star Alliance-a marketing vehicle led by United Airlines and Lufthansa that includes ANA and others-in a bid to maximize dollars and exposure, a move Tomomi Hosogai, a Y&R account exec, referred to as an "added value" strategy.

The goal is to portray the ANA experience as one where a traveler-even prior to arrival in the Land of the Rising Sun-gains exposure to quintessentially Japanese concepts such as proper relaxation and attention to detail.

The latter is plugged in the other ad, which broke late last month. In it, ANA tells consumers that the airline is a representative of a Japanese "fastidious philosophy." The ad reads: "In a culture where the act of serving tea can require a week of preparation it's no surprise taking care of people is taken rather seriously."

ANA believes its "Japanese-ness" gives it a leg up in the battle for lucrative trans-Pacific traffic over American carriers such as American Airlines, Northwest Airlines and fellow Star Alliance member United. Another competitor could neutralize that tack, namely Japan Airlines, but this year JAL halted its most visible U.S. promotion, its sponsorship of a New York-area LPGA event.

"If you're going to Japan you might as well get the unique Japanese experience before you get there," said Ms. Hosogai. "If you fly United or American [Airlines], it's a little more generic American."

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