Qatar Airlines has decided to invest millions of dollars to heighten awareness among the traveling public. That’s all well and good. But, guess where they’re investing a huge chunk of those dollars? New York’s Penn Station!
Yes, an airline that bills itself as a ‘Five-Star Airways’ is promoting itself in a one-star dive of a rail station.
The ads are literally everywhere:
- Wrapped around poles
- On staircases
- On the ceiling of the venerable hellhole
The copy features the names of such exotic travel destinations as Mumbai, Marrakesh and the Maldives. That’s nice, but harried Penn Station commuters are praying their trains to Matawan, Middletown and Massapequa are still running on time (or running at all).
Plus, why would one advertise an elite travel experience in the American transportation system’s answer to the Black Hole of Calcutta?
Were I managing Qatar Air’s considerable marketing budget, I’d run ads where well-heeled travelers will actually take note of them:
- Middle Eastern restaurants
- Fifth Avenue jewelry stores
- outside a Rolls Royce or Mercedes-Benz car dealership.
Qatar’s marketing decision tells me one of three things:
- They’re completely clueless.
- They’re not correctly interpreting market research findings.
- They have more money than god, and can afford to completely waste some of it.
This is yet another example of top down, inside out marketing think. No one working for Qatar’s in-house marketing department even bothered to put themselves in the Prada shoes of an upscale, global traveler to figure out where and when she wants to engage with travel providers. If they had, they’d most certainly know it is NOT in some dark, dank rat-infested alcove of Penn Station.
I’d go on, but I need to hop on the 3:48 to Kenilworth, where I’ll be connecting to the 5:15 to Lisbon which will continue on to Kuwait City. Or, maybe I’ll just decide to hop on the Marrakesh Express.