Thai AirAsia (TAA) recruited heartthrob Nadech Kugimiya as its presenter in a major branding exercise that will do away with the use of its own cabin attendants, who featured prominently in past publicity.
TAA reportedly agreed to pay top dollar to the 22-year-old Austrian-Thai star to endorse the kingdom's largest low-cost carrier in an appeal to young adults, its target market.
The airline is slated to start airing a TV commercial featuring Mr Nadech on national television tomorrow, and will present him at a press conference scheduled for Monday at Bangkok's Don Mueang airport, said industry insiders.
The recruitment of Mr Nadech marks a change in TAA's advertising approach, which for the past decade has not focused on icons to carry its value message. It previously exploited its attractive female cabin attendants in advertisement and publicity materials, a common practice among no-frills airlines to save costs.
The fee TAA agreed to pay Mr Nadech and details of the hiring contract were not disclosed, but it is common industry knowledge that the star, who featured in scores of TV commercials largely for consumer goods, is one of the highest-paid presenters in Thailand.
The unveiling of Mr Nadech comes at the same time as TAA resumes its service to Khon Kaen from Bangkok, which returns in October with daily frequency after being suspended twice. The Bangkok-Khon Kaen launch will be presented by the star.
The resumption of Khon Kaen service helps TAA focus more on the northeast ahead of the opening of the Asean Economic Community in late 2015, as traffic with neighbouring Laos is projected to increase for the region.
TAA is due to take delivery of five more A320 jets later this year to build its fleet size to 35.
In the first half, TAA grew its passenger volume by 23% to 5 million and said it is on track to hit 10 million passengers for the full year.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business