The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Judge A Book By Its Cover …
November 17, 2008, 7:11 am
Filed under: Comment

This is an ad for Malaysian Airlines that I saw in a newspaper in Kuala Lumpur …

Is it me, or is that the ugliest, laziest looking ad ever?

Hell, the web address looks like it’s been written in that comic font! Jesus, and you thought impact was bad.

I sort-of feel sorry for Malaysian Airlines.

Not only are they in an industry that is under immense economic pressure, they are also in direct competition with their countries nemesis [and greatest major airline in the World] Singapore Airlines.

Seriously, it must be like being Brad Pitt’s ugly brother!

It gets worse …

When I flew with the airline recently, I went into the lounge to get some food [yeah, yeah – I know, what a ponce] and as I walked in, I came face to face with the highs and lows of brand delivery.

Lets start on a positive shall we?

[Only because it’s nice to end on a negative, haha!]

In the front of the lounge is a putting green.

Now as much as I hate golf and hate people who love golf, I do appreciate quite a lot of people feel quite differently about that sport – especially clichéd businessmen – so I can see why this is a nice touch and probably gets quite a lot of people talking.

Of course – like most airlines [VA excluded of course, ahem] they don’t cater for people like me – the golf hating, none-car driving, suit burning tee-totaller – but that’s a gripe for another day.

Anyway, because I needed to catch up on a few things, I went into the computer room and it was here I was faced with an experience that doesn’t just make me regard Malaysian Airlines as a 3rd division player … but makes me question almost all aspects of their business, including their planes safety record.

Can you see what it is?

Well the above pic is of their computer desktop and if you look carefully at the bottom left hand corner, you will see that the START button of their Microsoft machine comes from the Windows 95 software.

Let me say that again.


We’re in 2008 … they’ve launched Windows XP and the uber-frustrating Windows Vista since then.

We’re talking over 10 years of technical software developments and yet this airline – this brand – decides it is fine to put this on computers that their supposed higher end customers will use.

OK … so you could argue that many of these people will have their own laptops and so will never need to venture into such a room – but that’s a crap argument, because if that was the case, why have the room at all.

It might not seem much – but that simple little act made me question everything about Malaysian Airlines.

How old is the food?

How old are the planes?

How modern are their maintenance techniques?

Like I’ve banged on for years – a brand is much more than just ads or big PR stunts – often it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference to a customer, which is why an ad that looks like it’s been art directed by Stevie Wonder and a computer that has software even a local prison would turn down is unlikely to make a seasoned traveler look positively towards them and worse, unlikely to convince them to spend their cash flying their airline over a more overtly contemporary competitor.

If you want a successful brand, maybe it’s worth starting from the ground up – because the top down mentality tends to focus on areas that suit the companies ego rather than the customers rational and emotional needs.

So to Malaysian Airlines, I suggest you focus on getting the little things sorted out [and that includes changing your air stewards disgusting outfits] and you might just find the big things look after themselves.

30 Comments so far
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I see my pedantry has earned another disciple.

Comment by John

shall i hit him lee or will you? hell claim this is helping destroy the competition for you but slagging off malaysian airlines is like playing hide and seek with the fucking blind

Comment by andy@cynic

This is “my weekend in Langkawi” post. Subterfuge for I fly to exotic places on shitty airlines with no competition 😉

Comment by Charles Frith

Typical – I write a post that I actually think is quite serious and you lot take the piss. No wonder I have been writing uber-shite recently.

Do you like the way I just ‘blame throwed’ then?

Comment by Rob

It’s Monday so no one is in the mood to talk about Windows 95 or Malaysian Airlines. It’s not you, it’s us. (Bet you’ve heard that before)

Comment by Bazza

Ooh. Blame throwed. I like that. Now then one more point. Can you just leave any comments about clothes and style out of it. If the uniforms are the ones on the 95 screen they are OK. Vibrant Bahasa stylee and also the last time you did a post about some top of your missus it was bang on Miu Miu …so stick to black and keep ya trap shut on clothes Campbell …awright?


Comment by Charles Frith

Comic sans… comic sans… comic sans… *throws monitor out of window*

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Pedantry is a good thing – it only seems pedantic to those who don’t remember that most of these dissonances are registered subliminally. I doubt anyone will complain about windows 95, but a large number will notice and it will colour their view of this organisation.

Comment by John

What you see is what you pay for.

Comment by Marcus

There’s no excuse for Windows 95, even my Mum uses XP.
The uniforms are great though, where is your taste?

Comment by northern

Jesus – I never knew my blog had so many Trinny and Susannah’s, ha!

Just a point about the uniform – the womens ‘outfit’ is lovely, mainly because it’s modelled on SIA’s “Singapore Girl” however I will not back down from the mens monstrosity because I don’t care whether Stella fucking McCartney designed it, a taupe jacket that is always too big for the steward and dark green trousers looks more Park Attendent than prestigious airline.

And NP, given you want to shag Palin, I’d keep your ‘taste’ to yourself 🙂

[How is everyone, it’s been a while since you’ve been around and I’ve errrrrrm, missed you!]

Comment by Rob

Intrigued to know your reasons for staring so intently at stewards’ trousers?

Comment by John

what marcus said.

Comment by lauren

malaysian airlines must be quaking in their fucking boots getting slagged off for their fashion sense from a 38 year old bloke who wears birkenstocks and fucking shit tshirts.
mondays fucking suck

Comment by andy@cynic

“when I flew with the airline recently”

Comment by Niko

Now I know why I hate Mondays.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

you mean because campbell starts writing his fucking blog again? im with you my moose eating friend

Comment by andy@cynic

There’s a planner at Wieden’s who updated his FB status that he wants to shag Palin too (not Paul, he’s dancing on the other side of the ahem ballroom).

I think this is perversion masquerading as I like to get close to fish trawlers because I’m at one with the sea.

I have no idea where that last line came from but you get my point. Northern. Hit me up if you want to set up a FB group called “I’d do my best friend’s Mom when I was at school” and I’ll put you in touch with the relevant people.

Palin? Just looked at the ultra plucked eyebrows if you want to know where she hides her testosterone. I do know about these things you know 😉

Comment by Charles Frith

As for the system. Could be anything, even XP.
As a matter of fact, my start button looks the same (just in Jaapnese), and that is because I did not like the weird blue XP design and changed it to classic, grey one. I assume, that’s the same with this MalAir PC.
Simple as this.

Comment by Michael

That said. the creative and account guy handling above ad urgently need to be removed from their jobs. as well as the guy approving this on the client side…
or maybe the client did it himself with Word??!

Comment by Michael

Hello Micheal, are you the PR person for Malaysian Airlines? 🙂

The START button didn’t just look like Windows 95, it was the START button for Windows 95 because I clicked on it and it took me to an operating system that once was so innovative and now, 13 years later, looks the sort of thing you’d get on a Sinclair ZX81 … which is why I still stick with my view, but then I am a stubborn little bastard when I want to be, ha!

Comment by Rob

OK Michael, you’ve now proved you DON’T work for Malaysian Airlines PR department – or their agency and thank god for that, because I love people coming on here and passing comment – any comment – but even I’d find it hard to be nice to someone who supported those cheap ads. 🙂

Comment by Rob

Well, I am doing both the PR and IT here.
Would love to discuss this a bit more with you, but have to rush as we are very busy right now upgrading our systems to Win98.

Comment by Michael

WIN98???? You must be loaded to use next generation technology like that!

Now tell me, are you the Michael who was at JWT till you came to your senses or am I mistaking you for another dry witted bugger? 🙂

Comment by Robert

Wow, how’d you know? You scare me.

Comment by Michael

Not only that, but I think I know where you are now. Does it rhyme with “PALLON HAPAN”

[I am assuming your super brain can crack my devilish code. Ahem.]

Comment by Robert

Allow me to split hairs: It rhymes with PALLON HOKYO for that matter.

Comment by Michael

Luckily I went to James Bond school which means I can easily understand your cunning code.

Saying that I’m shocked, I thought you were at Fallon Tokyo but your code indicates to me you’re a receptionist at Woolworths Luton.

[I’m coming to your neck of the woods soon, be afraid, be very afraid, ha!]

PS: I mean Tokyo, not Luton. Obviously.

Comment by Robert

Glad there are no woods around here.

Comment by Michael

Thanks Michael, with your comment you’ve managed to make me sound a right perverted old bugger …

Comment by Robert

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