EasyJet brands Ryanair a ‘copycat’ as it details 2015 marketing plans

EasyJet’s head of marketing Ian Cairns says its marketing strategy for the year ahead will be focused on attracting customers away from premium airlines such as British Airways rather than becoming overly-focused on  ‘copycat rivals’ such as Ryanair.

Earlier this week, the budget airline revealed it had increased the number of passengers carried over the quarter ending 31 December by 4.1% to 14.9 million off the back of its successful “Business Sense” campaign, which talked up EasyJet’s business class proposition.

It also lowered loss projections for the first half of 2015 to between £10m to £30m – compared to a previously projected £53m – after selling a “record number of seats” to business travellers during the period.

Cairns says the next phase of marketing will be geared towards communicating improvements – such as flexibility on booking via the EasyJet app and new additions to on-board and airport service – to customer experience.

“A lot of people seem to think we are obsessed with Ryanair, but they tend to be a copycat and follow a lot of what we are doing so we can kind of guess what they will come out with next,” Cairns told Marketing Week.

Over recent months, Ryanair has launched a campaign for its own business class proposition while also announcing plans to introduce new services such as a price comparison tool, customer feedback feature and content on holiday destinations to make its website a one-stop for travellers.

“What we are really focused on is taking share from the likes of BA and Iberia, and looking at the biggest European airlines and trying to turn their customers’ heads in our direction in creative ways,” he adds.

Admitting that EasyJet is committed to lowering its marketing spend every year as part of a larger department efficiency drive, Cairns says his role is in proving the airline can do ‘more with less”.

EasyJet recently launched its first ever “Happy Bums” TV campaign for its sister brand EasyJet Holidays and Cairns says the move was in response to the recovering economy and a rise in people’s discretionary incomes.

“We are seeing more travel and package holiday advertisers up their ad spend so it is a tough environment where you have to invest sensibly,” he added. “EasyJet Holidays will open us up to a different type of customer and I think this will be a long term market as people generally are now looking to spend more on holidays. Our seat numbers were up massively for the last quarter and I think that upward trend will continue.”

However, despite its move into package holiday bookings and luring in business travellers, Cairns insists value still remains a core message.

“We are well known for good value and we can’t forget that too much so you will always see a price with our advertising, but the days of just flogging a cheap seat to Malaga leads you down a commodity path and is quite restrictive.

The future of our marketing will be about pleasing the traditional customer but also bringing in those AB customers and letting them know EasyJet can match the premium offer they are used to but at a much lower price.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here