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The 7-week travel campaign: How AirAsia tapped programmatic DOOH to encourage travel during peak season

Teddy Cambosa - September 1, 2023

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As travelers increasingly demand personalised and real-time experiences, the aviation industry recognises the imperative to adapt and engage with their target audience in more dynamic and data-driven ways. Programmatic DOOH campaigns represent a paradigm shift, allowing airlines to deliver hyper-targeted messages across a myriad of digital out-of-home platforms.

In this digital age, harnessing the power of programmatic DOOH not only enhances brand visibility but also enables airlines to foster stronger connections with their passengers, optimising the passenger journey and driving customer loyalty to new heights.

In an era marked by ever-evolving consumer preferences and the digital transformation of the advertising landscape, airlines have found themselves at the forefront of innovation by embracing pDOOH campaigns. And AirAsia is no stranger to this, who has used such channels to offer new promos and incentives for travellers who are itching to get bang for their buck when travelling to new places. More recently, AirAsia has used pDOOH to promote its 7 million free seats campaign, launched in celebration 700 million passengers flown in conjunction with the airline’s 21-year anniversary.

In this article, we take a look at how AirAsia worked with Moving Walls to communicate irresistible offers to Malaysian travellers to places across the ASEAN region.

The Challenge

As audiences geared up for peak travel season, AirAsia knew they had to make their deals stand out and reach relevant audiences. Given the focus on driving users to their super app, being present in the physical world and at multiple locations was identified as key to staying top of mind. 

The Objective

Being the world’s leading low-cost airline, AirAsia is well-known for its seasonal flight and destination offers. The objective of this campaign was to ensure the latest offers were displayed at the right locations to drive audiences to take action online. Key digital out-of home (DOOH) locations were chosen for a period of seven weeks and the content being served should be relevant to the current offer.

The Solution

As the holiday season arrived, audiences yearned for new experiences. AirAsia designed several promotions inviting those in Malaysia to a range of different types of holidays. This wasn’t just a campaign – it was a meticulously orchestrated seven-week expedition tailored to every sort of traveller, with each week unveiling a fresh creative promoting a unique offer. Finally, the true flexibility of using DOOH screens was used at scale.

The Campaign Execution

The entire DOOH campaign was executed through the Moving Audiences Xchange platform, which boasts the highest reach in Malaysia covering every possible venue type and billboard location.

A select group of inventory was made available for the campaign and creatives could seamlessly be switched in and out with automated media owner approvals. Given that the platform provided real-time impression, ad play, and proof of play reporting, AirAsia’s marketing team was able to compare actual delivery to campaign forecasts and make adjustments where necessary. Below is a quick summary of the different mini-campaigns that got executed during the seven-week period.

  • Week 1: The Invitation to Regional Exploration – The first week was a siren call for regional exploration, offering a tempting 20% off on flight tickets to neighbouring countries. This week was all about stepping out of comfort zones and expanding horizons.
  • Week 2: The Indonesian Charm – The second week saw AirAsia igniting the travel bug with a flight ticket offer to Indonesia. The campaign was an open invitation to explore the rich culture and breathtaking landscapes of this Southeast Asian jewel.
  • Week 3: The Beach Bum’s Paradise – Week three was a sun-soaked, sand-strewn invitation to beach lovers with the tagline – “Fly for sun, sand, and sea”. It was a shout-out to those seeking to trade their office chairs for beach chairs.
  • Week 4: The Cultural Carousel – Week four was a cultural extravaganza, encouraging tourists to “Fly for exciting cultures”. This was an invitation for travellers to journey beyond their borders and dive headfirst into the vibrant cultures of different countries.
  • Week 5: The Lap of Affordable Luxury – The fifth week showcased the glamorous side of travel, with international flights starting from a mere RM279, and premium flatbed seats from RM899. This was a golden ticket for those seeking luxury without depleting their wallets.
  • Week 6: The Call of the Wild – The sixth week was a green signal for nature lovers to “Fly for serene naturescapes”. It was a call to all those yearning to swap concrete jungles with lush green landscapes.
  • Week 7: The Adrenaline Rush – The campaign reached a crescendo in the final week, with flight ticket promos encouraging thrill-seekers to “Fly for the thrill of it”. It was the ultimate call-to-action for adrenaline junkies ready to embark on their next thrilling adventure.

This seven-week odyssey was more than just a campaign; it was a testament to AirAsia’s deep understanding of its customers’ diverse travel preferences and an impressive display of creative DOOH ads. 

The Results

By including the use of Programmatic DOOH alongside their digital efforts, AirAsia was able to build up real-world awareness that contributed to the success of the campaign on other channels.

On DOOH alone, generated a reach of over 29 million impressions, far exceeding our forecast of 22 million. This was garnered over 37 sites, spanning 9 states and 10 districts in Malaysia, showcasing the growing reach of programmatic DOOH.

Beyond these numbers though, AirAsia continues to showcase best practices for executing through new media channels. The scale and flexibility offered by Programmatic DOOH enabled them to literally paint Malaysia red while still verifying the results and switching creatives based on actual performance.