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airberlin

The Challenge

airberlin is Germany's second-largest airline and flies to 168 destinations in 40 countries. In November 2010, airberlin launched a new route between Dubai and Berlin connecting the UAE and the German capital with three non-stop flights weekly.

airberlin engaged bridge:media to plan and organise the press conference, announcing the carrier's new route as well as the launch event to celebrate this occasion. With its flight to Dubai, airberlin entered the Middle East market for the first time. Therefore, the final objective of the press event and the "Berlin evening" (reception and launch party) was not only to announce the new route, but also to create awareness in the region about the airline, which aimed at conveying a young, friendly and service-oriented image amongst UAE and GCC nationals as well as the German expat community.

The entry of an aviation company completely new to the Middle Eastern market, organising at very short notice two high-profile events appealing to journalists and the business community was fraught with challenges. On the one hand, the press conference aimed at securing the participation of journalists as well as ensuring adequate media coverage. On the other hand, for the following reception, the main challenge was to allure high-level representatives from the German business community, travel industry as well as media representatives during Dubai's high season for corporate events. Moreover, the client's specific needs for the "Berlin evening" needed to be adapted to the Middle Eastern context and its regional requirements.

bridge:media's approach

bridge:media's services for airberlin encompassed all stages of event management and PR campaigning including messaging, media relations as well as organisation of a press conference and a unique launch event.

At first, bridge:media developed a two-folded PR strategy in cooperation with the client. On the one hand, the adopted approach aimed at promoting airberlin through a unique corporate image, involving the presentation of a friendly and modern airline dedicated to high-quality products and above-average service standards. On the other hand, the communication strategy linked the importance of the new flight connection to the intensifying commercial, tourism and institutional ties between the UAE and Germany.

Secondly, thorough attention was also dedicated to the selection of a suitable location that had the capacity to host both events and in line with the overall strategic approach of the campaign. The designated Armani Hotel, which is located in the Burj Khalifa well reflected the innovative character that the ambitious aviation company intended to present. In addition, the venue selection fully embraced all aspects of the perception that bridge:media aimed at creating: airberlin is modern, chic, fashionable with high standards.

In order to maximise the outreach of the news about the new airberlin flight connection, press releases in English and Arabic were created and disseminated amongst national, regional and pan-Arab media outlets. Furthermore, bridge:media arranged interviews with various television and radio stations on a local and regional basis, with a target audience of different demographics and behavioural values.

The press conference and the launch party were planned as high-level events attended by international journalists and hosted by the CEOs of airberlin, visitBerlin and Berlin Airports. bridge:media was responsible for both, media relations and invitation management. These tasks implied the creation of a media and guest list reflecting the high standards of the two events, while a continuous liaising activity was carried out with journalists to guarantee a large number of attendees from various media outlets.

Moreover, bridge:media handled all organisational aspects as well as the logistics for the two events, in addition to being the intermediary between airberlin and the press as well as the Armani Hotel and the suppliers.

Outcome

bridge:media's ad-hoc campaign for airberlin resulted in an effective programme, which obtained not only an outstanding media coverage, but also a remarkable guests' and journalists' participation at the "Berlin evening". It successfully accomplished all the main objectives planned for the campaign, which resulted in a large number of publications, the presence of high-level guests at the launch event and the effective promotion of airberlin's unique corporate image amongst the public and media.

A large number of representatives from Arabic, English and German media outlets attended the press conference, ensuring an extensive media coverage in distinct media categories. With a total circulation of the print articles reaching approximately 5 million copies, a variety of newspapers and other offline and online publications, especially those focussing on tourism and lifestyle topics, published articles, ensuring the announcement of the new airberlin service by the most influential media outlets in the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Germany.

In addition, bridge:media's campaign secured the announcement of airberlin's new flight connection in a number of TV shows and a major news broadcasting TV station, with a potential audience outreach of 200 million Arab viewers across the Middle East and North Africa. An extensive interview with airberlin's General Manager for the Middle East was also conducted by one of Dubai's main radio station.

With an exceptional number of high-level representatives from the German community, travel industry and media present, the "Berlin evening" also turned highly successful.

All in all, bridge:media's campaign for airberlin consistently contributed to increasing the target audience's awareness of an aviation company new to the market, while at the same time focussing on the promotion of the new flight connection. The successful outcome was evident in the important results achieved in terms of offline and online publications as well as TV and radio coverage, but also in the new perception of airberlin's unique corporate image amongst the Gulf public and media, amongst whom the airline is now associated with attributes such as "young", "friendly" and "service-oriented".