A great part of that branding now involves being associated with a winning team!Turkish airlines is now "Globally yours with Barcelona" and Emirates is a regular sponsor of major sporting events including the just concluded FIFA World Cup 2010.
People love winning brands and winning teams and airlines,the masters in product branding love to be associated with winners more than anyone.In the soccer mad planet of Africa,two major African legacy airlines hail from countries known more for their prowess in rugby than soccer:Kenya and South Africa.
Anyone who just watched the 2010 FIFA World Cup already knows that South Africa is not a serious soccer nation.It's safer placing your bet on Uganda than on South Africa!And Kenya,well most Kenyans love Arsenal than their national team.The Kenyan team is more like the English,when they lose they are not to blame.It's either the weather or the ball or some divine mystery...and they always lose.
When it comes to rugby,the two soccer minnows are powerhouses and World beaters.Both are ranked in top 10 in the IRB circuit and while South Africa is in a class of its own,Kenya is an emerging power with a religious and fanatical following.And their two national carriers have taken note of their winning ways.They use their rugby teams' success for successful marketing campaigns.
Last year,Kenya Airways Marketing Director,Dick Omondi secured a sponsorship deal with the Kenyan national rugby team,replacing Virgin Atlantic,the erstwhile sponsors and KQ now exploits to the maximum the marketing opportunities that come along when you dine with winners.Kenyans and Kenya Airways partied hard when Kenya beat South African Emerging Boks in a thrilling match at the Safari Sevens earlier this year.
Taking cue from Kenya Airways,South African Airways is now an associated sponsor of South African Rugby and the Springboks(South African Airways used to have a Springbok logo before it was dropped!).
In Kenya and South Africa,it seems rugby is set to fly higher for the foreseeable future.The rivalry at 30,000 feet has entered the pitch!