Amongst all the digital media noise, SAS chose to focus on a classic newspaper insert. Its success was incredible. The number of readers and reading time exceeded all expectations. And most importantly – a third of readers had the impulse to book SAS flights.


The target group for the marketing initiative was those who fly on business or privately, and the intention was to present the advantages of choosing SAS in a light-hearted way. At the same time, it was an opportunity to showcase the company’s broad product offering and a large number of new services. The tool chosen was a customer magazine as an insert with the title En klokare resa (A smarter way to travel).


“We chose print because we had so much that we wanted to tell our customers. If you want to spend a long time with the customer, magazines and newspaper inserts are far superior to the digital channels,” says Ulf Hermansson Samell, head of marketing for SAS in Sweden.


At the same time, Ulf Hermansson Samell at SAS has a complete multimedia strategy, with around 60 per cent in print and the rest in digital and moving media. Exploiting the strengths of the various channels and combining them in a carefully planned way delivers an impact that is greater than the sum of their parts. The company’s measurements confirm that daily press ads, DM and other printed material strengthen the messages in the digital channels and vice versa.


It was thus only natural that the paper version of En klokare resa was also optimised for use on the iPad and in pdf format from the outset. In addition, the launch was preceded by information via electronic DM aimed at those registered in the customer database.


Ulf Hermansson Samell, who has extensive experience of brochure and DM production in the travel industry, stressed from the beginning that En klokare resa would apply the highest quality of graphic craftsmanship. The combination of text, photos, layout, paper, printing and so on would really create interest and attract readers. The job went to DG Communications, which chose to create a 20-page product in magazine format (205x267mm) and print 875 000 copies. As a bonus, SAS included an insert inside its own insert – a poster with a world map on one side and a picture of a flight deck on the other.


The choice of distribution channels was already tried and tested. SAS stuck with the major Swedish daily newspapers Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Göteborgs-Posten and Sydsvenska Dagbladet, with copies also distributed at airports.


“The approach was normal for a classic newspaper insert. We had a strong message and a clear target group, but we were still surprised at the incredible scale of the impact,” says Ulf Hermansson Samell.


Person håller i en tidning


Directly after the launch numerous positive comments came in via email, Facebook, Twitter and so on. As always, SAS had some careful impact measurements taken and the results speak for themselves:


–     1 260 000 people read the magazine (target: 1 000 000)


–      Average reading time 14 min (very high for a 20-page magazine with 8 pages of ads)


–      42% of readers went away with a more positive image of SAS (33% is the average for similar campaigns)


–     32% of readers intend to book SAS flights (10% is the average for similar campaigns)


Enclosing the world map also proved a real hit. The measurements show that a huge 490 000 people have kept the map and 163 000 of them have even put it up on their wall. This is the equivalent of an area the size of 13 football pitches! The figures were almost impossibly high, so SAS had them double-checked and they proved accurate.


Over the next few years SAS will be running several campaigns whose key ingredient will be inserts, magazines or other printed material, but always combined with digital and moving media. There is nothing to suggest, in the foreseeable future, that print is going to be any less of a presence in SAS’s total media mix. The airline’s inflight magazine Scanorama, for example, continues to enjoy high readership figures and SAS’s printed direct mail is also achieving excellent results.


“The lesson from En klokare resa is that classic magazines and inserts can still make a major impact. The key is to do it right, with professional graphics and quality on every level,” concludes Ulf Hermansson Samell.



TEXT: Anders Thorén

Source: Power of Print

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