Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What is Dusseldorf? - Air Berlin ad caught my attention today

I saw the Air Berlin ad to the right today when I entered the Bart train here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It caught me off guard as the headline didn't seem to be written in conversational American English. From the looks of the ad, it appears to me that Air Berlin is launching new service out of SFO, but neglected to utilize an American marketing partner to assist with this launch. I'm guessing this is an important strategic move fir Air Berlin, so I would want the execution to be perfect.
How does this ad miss the mark?

1. The headline doesn't read smoothly for American English readers and is not language I would use in conversation. Headline should read, "Welcome aboard San Francisco!"

2. What is Dusseldorf? Isn't that a German dinner dish down at Harry's Hofbrau? Is it a destination, a city? Honestly I'm not sure. My recommendation would be to offer "Non-stop service to Germany". Now this is something I, and the market, can easily comprehend.


So, there are other items that I could mention, but I rather not pile on. To me it is clear that this piece didn't capitalize as well as it could have. I would suggest to Air Berlin, if you have an important message you wan to get to an important market, find someone local that can provide consulting assistance.

But, then again, the piece caught my attention, so maybe there was a method to their madness.


  1. Hi Darren,
    1. "Welcome on board" is correct English, although I agree, welcome aboard flows better.
    2. With your last name, I would think you would know Germany a bit better. Weren't you paying attention in geography class? We Americans are not THAT geographically challenged. Germany is too general as a destination. Anyone who has done any traveling at all would think of Frankfurt, the largest hub in Germany.
    3. As I am in marketing as well, I know the value of simplicity on a sign designed for the short attention span of people traveling on the BART, (Half awake, half there, thinking ahead, back, not particularly in the moment) and ads must be simple, eye-catching, colorful. Now that I think of it, the slightly unusual English also catches ones' imagination.

  2. Boelander, couldn't agree more with each of your points.

    1. Agreed
    2. Yes, I have a German background, but very limited knowledge of anything German, except that everytime I fly through Frankfurt, I'm amazed by something. I respectfully disagree with your comment that "We Americans are not THAT geographically challenged.", my opinion is that we Americans are geographically challenged (you're probably way above the mean).
    3. You hit it on the head. This marketer got the two of us to discuss the piece, and I now know what Dusseldorf is.

    Thank you for your thoughts and comments.