‘All flights are fuelled with leprechaun wee and my bullshit’
Rhinestone Rodeo (Job Claassen, Ellen Pearson)
Despite widely publicised advertising flops and neglectful customer service causing everything from laughs and discomfort to outrage and offense, Ryanair’s status as biggest European airline carrier remains unchallenged. Is it simply its core value of ‘low-cost flights for all’, or has it optimised the marketing strategy of no publicity is bad publicity? Sacrificing ‘likeability’ for ‘clickability’ is typically used by celebrity publicists rather than multi-billion dollar companies, but Ryanair benefits from mass-media coverage through its intentional marketing failures and provocations. Not to mention the potty-mouthed CEO Michael O’Leary, whose ‘daft’ quotes are reified through lists and memes online.
The designers conducted analytical research of the particular anti-design techniques of Ryanair’s idiosyncratic communication to determine the tone and resulting impact on public perception of the brand. When compiled and analysed in a linear timeline, it is difficult to tell why customers put up with it. Instead, by presenting a selection of particularly memorable or controversial marketing moments through an installation of paper airplanes, a non-linear perspective emerges. Together with this, sculptures caricature the Ryanair brand as a personality. By shrinking the budget airline giant down from an abstract customer service entity to a human scale, the scope of perception and perspective is shifted.
Hogan, Michael. November 8, 2013. “Michael O'Leary's 33 daftest quotes.” Link
Rhinestone Rodeo comprises Job Claassen and Ellen Pearson, who work with film, art direction and installation to create fabricated realities and fictitious scenarios that redefine narratives from pop culture.