Jet Airways’ horribly misguided and badly timed loyalty program campaign

Related read: Life’s great highs and terrible lows… and the often disregarded and ridiculed steady-mids.

The timing of this campaign seems ominous. When the news about Jet Airways is gloomy and dismal, almost every day in the news, here comes Jet’s new campaign on its loyalty program. The video that surfaced on YouTube on November 27th was soon followed by the spate of bad news about the brand starting the first week of December. I’m not sure if the loyalty team was aware of the internal trouble that was to hit them just a few days after this campaign’s launch, but if they had even an inkling, they may well have decided to postpone the communication.

But then, there’s also the December holiday/travel peak time to address, so from that point of view, this timing may have been compelling enough for them.

I have a much bigger problem with one of the 3 films in the campaign, made by Dentsu India.

The voice-over goes,

My business is my passion.
My office, my heaven.
My friends and family call me ATM.
Because I work 24/7.
My bag is always packed.
Because I travel back-to-back.
I travel on business every other day.
My real home is, in fact, a hotel or a homestay.
Even when I am out, enjoying a meal,
It’s usually over, you know, a business deal.
And on weekends, when out on family trips,
I’m on the phone discussing new partnerships.
Meetings, town-halls, seminars and workshops
I may stop for fuel but business never stops
So what do my loved ones have to say about my frequent absences?

“Yayyyyyyyy!!!”

Because my passion helps me take my family to great places.
Thanks to my JetPrivilege Membership
Your passion can take you places too.

The video!

I’m sure you know what my problem is.

The film makes it look like overworking is some kind of hobby or aim in life, if you consider the other 2 films in the series – Junior Astronomer and Photographer.

We are at a stage where brands are forced to do the right thing for its consumers. Coca-Cola has recently, after a century of overdosing its users on sugar, showcased the ‘zero sugar’ variant in a Christmas campaign, in the UK.

Flipkart and Amazon are actively focusing on wasting less paper in their packaging.

Organizations the world over are increasingly looking at employee well-being which also includes radical measures like stopping emails during weekends.

Overworking, or giving up your life for an employer, is not fashionable. It may be hugely beneficial monetarily, of course, but it is not a sustainable or scalable method to lead one’s life.

So, Jet showing us the sad face of the child and the wife even as the husband lives a parallel life is not even something worth showing. I still remember a colleague in one of my earlier workplaces who used to be just this film’s lead. At one point he got a jolt of his life when his young daughter drew a family picture for school and she didn’t even include him, the father. When asked, she said that father is never around anyway, so she didn’t bother to include him in the picture!

And, as if to add insult to injury, you have the child shouting ‘Yayyy!’ as an answer to the question, “So what do my loved ones have to say about my frequent absences?”. As if that is the role of a father in the child’s life – to be the ATM that fulfills vacations.

This film is both poorly conceived and badly intended. That’s just my view. But I fully understand that such people’s priorities are different from mine. But, organizations all over the world are thinking on these lines too. It’s not an isolated sentiment.

To portray that in a loyalty program campaign as if it’s worth crowing is terribly misguided.

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