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This ad is no Turkey! | Turkish Translation

This ad is no Turkey!

29 November 2012 Thursday

In the dying days of 2012 I came across a post,  maybe a post-ironic one at that, which appeared to make fun of  and put down the latest in a series of  Turkish Airlines TV ads, albeit in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way.

In the commentary, by a certain Barbara Lippert, there was a whiff not only of ‘what do these Turkish Airlines people know about TV advertising’, but also a hint of ‘boys and their toys, how 1980s?’.  My words, not Barbara’s.

A link was kindly provided to the Turkish Airlines ad video, which had been posted on YouTube by the airline. And why not?

Take a look and form your own opinion.
As even the most casually involved in global marketing grasps, every culture has its own set of mores which must be taken into consideration. Indeed, none more so than the US itself, where many would gasp at the sight of a nipple (female) on primetime TV, despite the fact that the US remains the world market leader in porn production and distribution.
It’s always going to be incumbent on the advertiser to consider the tastes and standards of the intended audience if there is to be any hope that communications objectives are met. This particular ad ran in the UK over the ‘Christmas break’ (yep, we still call it Christmas) and to most viewers, it can be said to fit the family-centric flavour of broadcasting over this period.
Maybe because the UK has a history of ironic advertising, few viewers will really believe that:

a) this is taking place on a real aeroplane or
b) it is normal to kick a football (soccer ball) or throw a basketball around mid-flight or
c) that the kid would be in first class while these global stars are left  in cramped economy (coach, for any American readers).

In others words, surely this was a bit of fun intended to appeal to the whole family at a traditional time of goodwill and to portray Turkish Airlines as a modern, safe, westernized airline.

It’s hard to imagine the marketing folks back at Turkish Airlines HQ in Istanbul not being aware that negative stereotypes might easily be applied to anything with Turkish in the name. Hence they’re trying very hard in their branding activity to avoid or counter this.
While only a low percentage of Americans will have had the opportunity to sample the experience of flying with Turkish Airlines, my own experience of frequently flying the London/Istanbul route has always been positive: modern planes, crew, in-flight service and airport (at the Istanbul end anyway). Diplomacy forbids me to mention the late flights, old fleets and grumpy cabin crew that many a regular, US domestic flyer will be familiar with. The latter complaint may equally be levelled at BA in recent years.
The overall verdict on the video as a piece of TV advertising?

For what it’s worth, I found it well-produced and felt that it should resonate with a wide global audience. It retains the necessary Turkish flavour while avoiding cliches and stereotypes. Without doubt this was an upbeat ad with a feel-good finish.
For my money certainly, it is not as cheesy as the over-produced BA ads or as intentionally salacious and subversive as the Virgin Atlantic ads. I think they know their niche and are sticking to it. There might still be some work to do though to convince a specific US demographic that they are really gender neutral enough. If indeed that is their aim.
Beach basketball on the Bosphorus anyone?

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