Singapore Airlines releases new ad; receives copycat accusations from Cathay

Singapore Airlines released its latest campaign, Welcome to World Class, barely a week ago and it has already garnered more than 33 million views on YouTube. 

In the video, a Singapore Airlines flight attendant (known in the industry as The Singapore Girl) takes the viewer around the world on her travels. The Singapore Girl’s narration likens thought-provoking travel realizations to the service they provide onboard. 

“It’s feeling like you belong, rather than a life filled with belongings,” she says. 

The ad ends with the line: “Because while first class is something you can buy, World Class is everything we do,” and it seems to be a crowd favorite based on comments and reactions. 

While the ad received plenty of praise and applause, one viewer was not particularly impressed. 

Edward Bell, Cathay Pacific’s chief marketing officer, took to LinkedIn to express his personal opinion about Singapore Airlines’ latest campaign.

“Congratulations Singapore Airlines on your latest brand campaign. But I can’t help notice (sic) that it strongly resembles what we did several years ago?” Bell said in a now-deleted LinkedIn post.

Bell attached a YouTube video of Cathay Pacific’s Miss Adventure, one of a series of three videos to feature in the airline’s “Life Well Travelled” campaign released seven years ago.

The video takes you along the travels and adventures of a female traveler, shown to be a Cathay passenger. The female traveler appears to have the same age, stature, and overall look as the woman in the Singapore Airlines ad. 

However, unlike the Singapore Airlines campaign, this video does not feature voice overs, but rather a single-line narration at the end. A phrase that may have been innovative seven years ago, but now feels rather clichéd: “When you travel well, you broaden the mind.”

Is Singapore Airlines truly guilty of copying Cathay Pacific’s campaign?

Well, we will let you be the judge of that. 

Singapore Airlines #WelcomeToWorldClass campaign, released 2023:

Cathay Pacific #LifeWellTravelled campaign, released 2015:

This isn’t the first time airlines have questioned the originality of another airline’s campaign. In September 2022, Air New Zealand jokingly ‘trolled’ Emirates over its ‘Fly Better’ campaign. Air NZ claimed that Emirates’ ‘Gerry the Goose’ 2022 ad was similar to its 2016 campaign featuring a talkative goose named Dave.

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