Friday, June 13, 2008

There’s Music in the Air

I Left Sao Paulo after reviewing one of the funniest TV spots I’ve seen this year. It came courtesy of Fabio Fernandes and his merry band of vagabonds, and is for an alternative music channel to MTV built around the concept that it is better to have a choice. The spot involves a hero with a musical beard. Can’t tell you any more but it’s ludicrously funny.

Emirates, the best airline experience in the world. Not only is it driven by the private suites I talked about a while ago, it has the world’s best music system, ICE digital world screens. ICE stands for information, communications, and entertainment. The information and communications stuff is terrific, incorporating SAT phone, SMS, Email, laptop and USB coverage. Frankly, I ignore all this and go straight to entertainment central. There’s 150 movies, unlimited TV, which instead of just showing the lowest common denominator American sitcoms, gives you fantastic documentaries, almost 100 programs on sport, (including the game they play in heaven - rugby), great drama such as Rome, Prison Break, and Dr. Who, and lots of British comedy.

But it’s music where they really win. As well as having fantastic world music, Emirates really understand us baby boomers. One great idea they have is the UK No. 1 Chart Hits. You simply hit a year (say 1964) on your remote and you see all the No. 1 hits from that year. They cover six decades from the 50’s to the minute. Talk about a walk down memory lane. To top that, they’ve put down play lists of almost 100 artists from Tom Waites to Annie Lennox with all the artists’ career best songs on the lists. Obviously, they have all the latest CD’s from the White Stripes, to Radiohead, and have the top 100 albums that saw great artists at the peak of their powers, such as the Beatles and Sgt. Pepper. The list goes on, and on. For instance you can listen to all of the individual albums of artists ranging from Dylan to Queen, as well as terrific sections on country, jazz, etc. You can also make your own playlist while you are on board. I can tell you the 14 hours from Sao Paulo to Dubai has never passed so quickly. This is a great example of customer empathy. The music is not standard middle of the road, it is a collection of sounds that emotionally connects with their passenger profile.

These guys at Emirates are going to take over the world (along with Singapore Airlines). Even now, they are leaving the European airlines scrambling in their wake.