Marketing Magazine

Malaysian Airlines: beware of selling out friends

Name: Jef Tan
Position: Design Director
Company: Attack Creative

"Not too long ago, an e-mail with the heading: "Your friend Peter Yeo wants you to help win a romantic holiday to Buenos Aires" penetrated my Alcatraz-esque junk mail filter. This totally caught me by surprise. Pete? Buenos Aires? I clicked the link, eager to find out what my buddy Pete was up to - and ended up directed to Malaysian Airlines' 'Create Your Dream Holiday' microsite.

"Up until then I had been used to airline sites chock-ful of the requiste touristy photos and images of dentally/dermatogically perfect stewardesses. Instead, it used a refreshing, illustrated picture book approach with a Dick Tracey-esque mascot as holiday host, inviting me to pick my dream destination and select my 'type' of holiday (shopping, romance and adventure).

"Then came the catch: was I to sell-out six friends by giving their e-mail addresses like Pete did? Considering I have done worse over a food voucher, I quickly did the deed and left. But here's the part brand owners should take note of: I got to count my chances as an e-mail was sent to notify me of who actually responded! I was naturally enticed by this immediate positive feedback to chuck in another six names!

"Before you know it, I was reduced to shamelessly chucking in yet another six names in a vote counting frenzy! This response mechanism successfully proves the dynamic two-way behaviour of internet marketing and reminds us to never mirror the approach to that of conventional printed direct mailing, which is limited to a one-way only response."

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