Qantas continues ‘trial and error’ marketing approach as airline insists TV show is ‘not PR spin’

Qantas has described the second series of branded TV series Ready for Takeoff as a “calculated risk” and, despite funding the production, insisted it did not seek to cut negative stories from going to air.

Qantas' Olivia Wirth

Group executive brand, marketing and corporate affairs, Olivia Wirth, said the series will broadcast events “that you would not necessarily be looking to share”.

She claimed the airline recognised the need to create prime time entertainment that contained “excitement and drama”, not “PR spin and gloss”.

The second series of the behind-the-scenes look at Qantas will kick off on Channel Nine on October 7, with production firm Fremantle Media stressing it was dedicated to “great storytelling” rather than making a show that was “peppered with PR”.

Wirth said: “Inherent in any operations business, including an airline, is the fact there are always going to be incidents be it about the weather, delays or medical emergencies.

Ready for Takeoff

“There are many issues on any given day which, more often than not, are bought on by externality, and that is obviously a risk. If you were looking at it purely from a PR perspective you would not necessarily be looking to share these daily occurrences.

“We talked a lot about it at an executive level and asked ‘is this something we should be considering’. We came to the conclusion that we back our people to resolve issues.

“We decided to take the approach to be transparent. We were making a TV program and we needed to make it interesting. It wasn’t about putting a spin or a gloss on the business. We needed to be prepared to show the elastics of our operation.”

Ready For Takeoff is the latest content push by Qantas which in recent months has trialled Snapchat as a way of showcasing the backroom operations of the airline and Roo Tales, a self-published series of behind-the-scenes stories.

“Many brands are looking at native content, or content that we choose to publish ourselves or in partnership with others,” she said. “Visual storytelling is a good way to engage and that is where we are investing.

“It’s about working out what the right content is and making sure you have the right platform to deliver it.”

Wirth told the Mumbrella Travel Marketing Summit last year that Qantas would “leave no stone unturned” in its quest to find to find the right digital and social platforms to reach consumers.


That strategy remains in place, she said, with the airline continuing to adopt a “trial and error” approach to its marketing.

“It’s about making sure you have a specific strategy and approach to each platform and recognising that all have strengths and weaknesses,” Wirth said. “It’s about trialling new social platforms in particular and learning what content works and being fleet of foot so you can continue to evolve how you communicate.

“Some things work and some don’t.”

She declined to identify areas that were failing, but Snapchat, which Qantas joined in June, does not appear to be one of them.

“Snapchat is very much about behind-the-scenes, a day-in-the-life of our people,” she said. “It is getting good engagement numbers, as is Instagram.”

Wirth said the success of Ready For Takeoff would be judged on social media engagement, brand awareness and perception, and the propensity to fly Qantas.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.