I was reading Metro this morning and came upon an excellent piece of ‘guerilla’ advertising from conference call company Powwownow, in response to a recent advertising campaign from airline flybe (the image below shows the original ad and the response):

Powwownow guerilla ad

There has been a recent ‘push’ by airlines, targeting businesses with the message that face to face meetings are better, and that it’s always worth flying to meetings. Boris Johnson even flew to New York FOR ONE DAY to back up this message… hmmm a great use of CO2 then by London’s generally green mayor. This one, however, hit a nerve with Powwownow, specifically with the blatant (in red), and I reckon difficult to defend message: ‘Conference Calls DON’T win business’.

I love their response: a defaced version of the flybe ad that clearly highlights the benefits of conference calls: much much cheaper, and no CO2. Ok, if we want to be pernickety, there are some CO2 emissions involved in a conference call, but in comparison with travelling to the airport, taking the plane, travelling to the meeting, travelling back from the meeting, taking the plane back, and travelling home… well, there’s no comparison is there?

In fact, the contrast is so absurd, they’ve also launched a new ‘airline’ - www.flypowwownow.co.uk highlighting the cost differences!

I’m the first one to admit that there are still reasons to take the plane, but as a business person it really winds me up when the airlines in their desperation try to use flawed business messages to justify their existence and encourage more people to fly. Conference calls do win business, and there are many more occasions where it would be just as efficient, cheaper, and better for the planet to have a conference call rather than getting on a plane. Instead, they need to focus on the real task ahead: how to reduce emissions from air travel, and dramatically, rather than trying to hoodwink a more and more well-informed audience.

So good on you Powwownow for fighting back in your own little way - let’s set up a call to discuss next steps!