SCMP branded content campaign with Qantas Airways revives interest in airline

By Paula Felps

INMA

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

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Although Qantas Airways has served Hong Kong for 70 years, it still has relatively low brand recognition and awareness in the market. Other regional and local carriers usually are thought of first, but Qantas wanted to change perception and awareness of the brand.

As the national carrier for Australia, Quantas wanted to position itself as Hong Kong’s first choice for air travel, particularly for travel to Australia. To do that, the airline worked with South China Morning Post and Morning Studio to create a campaign celebrating the 70th anniversary of the first Qantas flight landing in Hong Kong.

A video featuring interviews with pilots and content recapping Qantas' role in Hong Kong's travel past were key to the campaign.
A video featuring interviews with pilots and content recapping Qantas' role in Hong Kong's travel past were key to the campaign.

In conjunction with the campaign, the airline offered a promotion to provided reduced airfares between the two countries.

Looking back, moving forward

Choosing the theme, “The Past, The Present, and The Future,” the idea behind the campaign was to show the role Qantas had played for culture, trade, and travel between the two countries for seven decades. Using archived materials from SCMP and the airline, along with original new interviews with pilots, the team created a video that provided an innovative way to strengthen recognition of the Qantas brand and solidify its connection to Hong Kong.

To support the video, which was the anchor of the entire campaign, SCMP ran three written articles. These branded content pieces were as well researched as SCMP’s traditional content and viewed through a journalistic lens. The three stories were:

  1. Stories of Chinese Australians from Hong Kong and how their roots affected their daily lives in Sydney.
  2. The story of Australian expatriate Bruce Ryde, who now calls Hong Kong home.
  3. A travel guide to lesser known places in Australia.
A special travel guide helped readers plan the perfect Australian getaway.
A special travel guide helped readers plan the perfect Australian getaway.

Remarkable results for all

This innovative approach found a high level of engagement with readers, attracting more than 207,000 page views for the series. The launch episode with the video ranked No. 2 on SCMP.com’s Most Shared dashboard.

Overall, the combined reach of this campaign was 3.6 million, including banner impressions and social media reach. The total engagement — including pageviews, video views, and social media engagement — exceeded 619,000.

While this showed an encouraging response for SCMP, the response for Qantas was even greater. Its Web site saw a 32% increase in site visits and enjoyed nearly a 50% increase in unique visitors to its site.

Thanks to the highly engaging content that was distributed through the SCMP channels, the airline saw a 13% growth in customers with a significant increase in bookings of premium cabins. 

This is a case study from INMA’s September 2020 report Why Branded Content Fits This Advertising Moment, free to INMA members.

About Paula Felps

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