Social gaming case study: AirAsia ‘Friendsy’ competition lets Facebook friends share private plane

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Back in April 2012, AirAsia celebrated the launch into its most-anticipated Australian hub, Sydney. With little consumer awareness in this brand new and fiercely competitive market, they wanted to create a campaign that would develop brand awareness. This case study looks at how the airline brand created a Facebook competition that lets one lucky Facebook fan commandeer their very own AirAsia plane, growing its fan base 30% and generating a PR value of $1,627,593 in the process.

• Airline creates completion to get Facebook friends their own chartered flight on an Airbus

• App lets consumers curate the flight of a lifetime, filling the plane with the friends they wanted to come along.

• AirAsia Facebook fan base grew 30% and reached 2,291,483 people on Facebook, which is a whopping 20% of Australians using Facebook.

The challenge

The objective was to achieve 80% load factors on each route ex Sydney (of which there are seven flights per week), with the ultimate goal of moving to double daily flights within two years from launch. With these aggressive objectives, and with a limited budget of $80,000, agency Publicis Mojo needed an unprecedented idea to showcase AirAsia’s brand promise: “Now Everyone Can Fly”. The aim was to do something that no other airline had done before.


The idea? To showcase everything AirAsia has to offer by handing someone AirAsia’s most prized possession—an Airbus A330. One lucky Facebook fan was given the chance to jump aboard and commandeer their very own AirAsia plane, alongside 302 of their Facebook friends.
The specially-reserved flight would take their entourage from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, where they would then spend three nights with accommodation paid for by AirAsia, before returning home on their private plane.

The brand developed a Facebook app showing a virtual plane, inviting fans to explore the features of the Airbus A330, including in-flight services. But best of all, they were given the chance to curate the flight of a lifetime, filling the plane with the friends they wanted to come along.

Once an entry was completed, fans could share a photo of their plane with those tagged onboard and invite others to enter. This allowed fans to really engage with the brand, while familiarising themselves with key product attributes along the way.

The campaign launched on April 10, 2012 with Facebook ads, a highlight Page post, new cover image and video post promoting this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A variety of Page posts were made throughout the campaign encouraging fans to join in the fun.


Word quickly spread across all major social networking sites and soon enough the media began reporting about this once in a lifetime opportunity. According to CNN, it was “the biggest Facebook friendship test ever conceived. It grew from local, to national to international news, generating PR value of $1,627,593!

The campaign grew the AirAsia Facebook fan base by 30%. The competition received 12,500 entries and reached 2,291,483 people on Facebook, which is a whopping 20% of Australians using Facebook.

In terms of our marketing objectives, it achieved an average 82.5% load factor on all ex Sydney routes. This result was unprecedented for an AirAsia route launch. In addition, AirAsia has reported that they are on track to move to double daily flights ex Sydney from mid-2013.

The precise ROI figure is immeasurable, but for an $80,000 campaign outlay, plus the cost of the prize, the Friendsy campaign for AirAsia has paid the airline extremely handsome short and long-term dividends.

The campaign also won gold, two silvers, and a bronze at the Brisbane Art Directors Club, running a close second to Best of Show.

And on November 2, 2012, 251 friends gathered at Sydney Airport and boarded an AirAsia Airbus A330 for a three-day adventure in Kuala Lumpur—Julie-Anne Foster’s Airbus A330.

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