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Etihad’s clever PR stunt latest among daring Arab airline campaigns

In the latest PR stunt by Etihad Airways, the UAE airline is aiming to redefine airplane food, while setting a world record in the process. Oh, and simultaneously raising awareness while also donating to charity. Four birds, one stone?

Seems like it.

Redefining airplane cuisine

Etihad Airways Inflight Chef, Sanjay Thakur, has broken the world record for creating and serving dinner to guests at the highest pop-up restaurant in the world, located at Everest Advanced High Camp.

Accompanied by fellow chef Soundararajan Palaniappan, Mr. Thakur completed the grueling mission earlier this month, reaching the high camp and serving the meal at an altitude of 5,585 meters above sea level.

The world record-holding chefs prepared for months to make the attempt.

Image: Etihad Airways

The ingenuity of this stunt comes in how it contrasts the popular notion of airplane food being average and rather bland, not much different from hospital food. This PR move is indirectly trying to disprove this, by illustrating the deft skill of their airline’s chefs, a smart strategy that other airlines have not fully explored.

In addition to breaking a world record, the goal of the challenge was to raise awareness of sustainability in the region, with all proceeds being donated to Altruistic Hands, a Nepal-based charity.

The meal itself included ingredients collected from the alpine environment around them on the mountains. Staying true to the theme of sustainability, the team used solar energy to cook the meal, served on lava rock plates.

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Putting the “crazy” in campaign

You think cooking a meal on top of Mount Everest is crazy? Wait till you see what Emirates Airlines had done.

In a very daring campaign late 2015, Emirates released a video of one of their Emirates A380 airliners simply cruising through the clouds. A fine view, no doubt. Picturesque.

Image: Emirates Airlines

What’s so daring about that, you say?

Well, seconds later, THIS happens.

Image: Emirates Airlines

Swiss daredevil Yves Rossy, known as the Jetman, and his protégé Vince Reffet swoop into the frame, flying side by side with the passenger carrier, “like mosquitos beside a gigantic eagle,” as Rossy put it in an interview with the Khaleej Times.

The A380 is the world’s largest passenger airliner, and the Jetmen were flying beside it at 1.2km above sea level. This represents the first time that humans have flown in formation so close to a large aircraft at the time, according to travel magazine Condé Naste Traveler.

The Jetman campaign served to show off the skill of the airline’s pilots, while also displaying their approach to bold, forward-oriented thinking and innovation. According to the airline itself, they wanted to show “just how far aviation has come.” They succeeded, with flying colors.

Find the full video below:

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Royal Jordanian has some fun

Following the United Airlines scandal, where a passenger was dragged out of a plane by staff, Royal Jordanian launched an insanely successful social media campaign, poking fun at the rival airline.

The campaign went viral both locally and internationally, with the campaign covered by international outlets such as American site Vox and UK-based The Independent.

This, coupled with their previous Trump campaign, helped the airlines redefine their brand image through a little bit of fun, while bringing them into the international spotlight. Cheap, efficient marketing at its finest.

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