The What? The Air Line?

19 June 2013 – 4:21 am

Emirates Airline

Spending plenty of time at the O2 Arena this week, lead again to thoughts of sponsorship. We know it works as companies still invest significant amounts in this soft sell activity. Land Rover taking landowners off-roading, ski companies taking influencers to the mountains and high street food chains happily fulfilling an insatiable hunger for branded discount vouchers.

The O2 is packed daily and nightly. Neil Young, the Pet Shop Boys, the Rolling Stones. The natural round of the dome, lends itself to the O2 logo and simple branding. O2 is targeting youth and entertainment, and so does the former Millennium Dome. It’s a good fit. It makes sense.

Less clear is the nearby and equally beautiful (in an industrial cityscape scenario) Emirates Air Line.

Emirates is a gulf based airline. The Emirates Air Line links an area near the O2 with the Excel exhibition centre. It looks great, but seems odd in all regards. Why have Emirates as a sponsor? Why have the Air Line at all? Apart from looking good, what is the exact purpose?

The BA London Eye worked well, it is a UK airline and hits a chord. Flying in the Eye makes sense. It’s also in the centre of town and easily accessible. The Air Line is not.

A visitor to the area yesterday didn’t realise Emirates was the main sponsor. So sponsorship doesn’t seem to be giving back here either in an unscientific poll.

Now if it linked to an airport served by Emirates the package would start to make more sense. City Airport is nearby, but that is generally a short haul terminal, mainly serving Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with a regular New York flight, provided by, you guessed it, BA.

To summarise, the Emirates Air Line in East London looks great. But the questions remains. Why Emirates and why the Air Line?

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