When I hear the words “millenials,” “connected,” “international,” and “electric” used in the same press release, I start to feel ill. And those are just a few of the words Air France slung together in its press release announcing that its new (not) low cost airline would be called Joon. Words cannot describe how much I hate this entire thing from start to finish, but of course, that won’t stop me from trying my best. In short, Air France appears to have just given up and told a group of clueless consultants to do whatever they wanted. The end result is an airline with a highly questionable business plan… but one with a “punchy” name. Oh, where to start…?
If you’re familiar with Air France’s project code-named “Boost,” that’s what this is. In that plan, a different group of consultants told Air France its costs were too high. (I could have told them that for a lot less.) Instead of trying to fix that problem at a systemic level, the old and tired suggestion of creating a new lower cost airline-within-an-airline was born. Boost specifically was meant to combat the Middle East carriers and other lower cost airlines that are eating Air France’s lunch on medium- and long-haul flights.
Air France was able to get some concessions from flight attendants, but the pilots weren’t willing to give up much. Still, they approved this new plan a few days ago and last week, the branding was rolled out. This means Air France had already spent a silly amount of money on this project even though approval by the pilots was never guaranteed.
Boost, er, Joon, will have up to 28 airplanes (10 widebodies and 18 narrowbodies), but that’s basically all the hard data we know about it so far. Sure, we know the broad strategy I outline above, but all the details that matter will come in September. Apparently all the details that don’t matter at all are of a higher priority. And since it’s easy to see what’s wrong with Joon’s business plan above, I’ll save the deeper dissection until the airline gives us some real route/configuration/etc information. For now, let’s just focus on the absurdity of this initial wasted branding announcement.
What we do know from the press release is that “Joon will not be a low-cost airline.” That’s supposedly a lie right off the bat since the whole point of Joon is for Air France to be able to get lower costs on currently unprofitable routes. I think what this should say is that it’s not a low FARE airline. And that is a promise that was made to the employees. In other words, “we won’t reduce your costs just to give the savings back to customers. We want it all for ourselves.”
The business model isn’t good, but that won’t stop Air France from pouring a ton of effort and money into creating a useless brand to make it look better. That idea, however, is just ridiculous. Remember, Joon is supposed to take over routes that aren’t profitable for Air France today, and those feed into the Air France network. So having a new brand named Joon is just about as dumb as having a new brand named Ted. Many of the travelers on board will still be connecting from Air France, so this will just be confusing and unnecessary.
This is all lost on Air France, so it has created a brand that targets millennials. After all, that’s what the consultants said, so it has to be a good idea. I couldn’t get very far in the press release before wanting to punch a hole in my screen, but let me just give you some of the low-lights.
Joon is especially aimed at a young working clientele, the millennials (18 to 35 year-olds), whose lifestyles revolve around digital technology. This new brand has been entirely designed to meet their requirements and aspirations, with an authentic and connected offering that stands out in the world of air transport.
First of all, there is absolutely nothing that seems “authentic” about this effort. This is completely manufactured with buzzwords that are meant to make the airline seem cool. But again, who cares? Sure millennials will fly this airline, but so will anyone else who wants to fly from Paris to Dubai or wherever it ends up going. Focusing on one specific generation when the appeal should be much wider (especially when it still connects into the Air France network) is a mistake.
Its visual identity is based on an electric blue colour code symbolizing the airline’s dynamic attitude, as well as the sky, space and travel. The uniform of Joon’s flight attendants will be inspired by the new fashion codes, basic and chic.
This just doesn’t say anything. I see words, and I can read them. But it’s just… nothing.
Our brief was simple: to find a name to illustrate a positive state of mind. This generation has inspired us a lot: epicurean and connected, they are opportunistic in a positive sense of the word as they know how to enjoy every moment and are in search of quality experiences that they want to share with others. Joon is a brand that carries these values
If there’s one thing millennials love, it’s being grouped into a single, narrow definition that is supposed to span them all. But how does Joon “illustrate a positive state of mind”? It may be a play on words in France (jeune = young), but that’s a stretch. (It’s not even pronounced the same. I confirmed with Joon that it’s a hard “J” sound.) Elsewhere it just seems like a name (Korean), a misspelling of a month (English), or a somewhat memorable movie (Benny &…).
With Joon, we have created a young and connected brand that will give the Group a new impetus. Designed for our millennial customers, it will offer more than just a flight and a fare, it will offer a global travel experience. We’ll provide a further update in September, with more details on the brand’s content, products, services, destinations and range of fares!
Now, I’m getting ready to punch my screen again. You know who else “will offer more than just a flight and a fare… a global travel experience”? EVERY AIRLINE THAT FLIES INTERNATIONALLY.
In the Air France-KLM Group’s brand portfolio, Joon is Air France’s complementary younger sister, which will also inspire its customers to travel with its elder sibling.
Did you know you can buy a monitor at Best Buy for $100? I do, because I just SMASHED MINE IN HALF and need a replacement.
I can’t do this anymore, so I’ll leave you with this. Think about how this compares to IAG’s Level. Level is also meant to cater to millennials, but frankly, that branding looked like an afterthought. IAG let the network/aircraft configuration/etc drive the plan, and when it launched, those details were front and center. I find the whole millennial-branding to be absurd, but with IAG it just seemed like a gimmick on top of an airline with an actual plan. (Whether Level works or not is questionable, but you get my point.)
Joon, on the other hand, feels like a gimmicky branding exercise that also happens to have an airline attached. The whole “profitable airline” thing may show up later, if all those spreadsheets are correct. But they aren’t correct. And this won’t work. It’s just another wasted exercise that distracts from the real problems that Air France can avoid having to face for a little while longer by pretending to have a valid strategy.