Author: Ric Stockfis, Singapore office
Working with Hong Kong Airlines
Ink has been working with Hong Kong Airlines for a little over a year. In that short time, the airline has grown quickly, new teams have joined and big plans set in motion. We saw an exciting opportunity for their inflight magazine (previously Aspire) not just to excite readers but lead the way in shaping the airline’s brand identity in the years to come.
We were fortunate to be working with a team, led by the airline’s Chief Marketing Officer, George Liu, who championed the initiative from the start. His team were clear that they wanted the new magazine to celebrate their home city, and we used that as the jumping-off point for a completely new concept, unlike any other magazine in the skies.
Hong Kong is known as “Asia’s World City” for good reason. It’s a fascinating cross-cultural intersection of trade, trends and ideas; a bustling oceanfront metropolis with skyscrapers backing onto jungle-clad mountains. It’s impossible to visit and not be inspired or surprised by what you discover – and very likely both. Get an inspirational sneak peek behind the scenes in this video.
It really is unlike anywhere else, and that’s what we wanted to reflect in the new magazine, starting with the name.
+852 is not just the international calling code for Hong Kong, it’s colloquial shorthand for the city itself. We loved that it was instantly recognizable to many, intriguing to others and very different from any other magazine title. We knew it was right the moment we thought of it.
We then took the name (it’s an added bonus that eight is very lucky in Chinese culture!) and developed a front-of-book section focused on Hong Kong, highlighting 8 hot happenings, 5 spots to check out in the buzziest neighbourhood, and 2 contrasting points of view from experts in their field on a timely topic.
We looked to Hong Kong design talent (there’s so much!) to illustrate the stories and craft a unique and memorable cover concept.
And we sent our feature writers out to tackle unique challenges and get under the skin of the exciting destinations across the Hong Kong Airlines network (as well as cities all across Asia, the airline flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver).
We even introduced a business-traveller focused section, Out of Office, to go beyond lifestyle and travel content and offer an insight into the worlds of luxury, technology, and more.
Everything comes together
It was a hectic, challenging and hugely rewarding project, completed in a little over three months from concept to launch. We attracted a record-level of advertisers too – and that’s before they even had a hard copy of the new magazine!
It’s great when marketeers see the true value of placing their brand directly into the hands of valuable and loyal consumers as they fly to 40 destinations across Asia Pacific and North America.
It all finally came together in the first week of December, with a lively launch party at Ce La Vi skybar in Hong Kong, attended by senior executives from HKA, airline crew, local media, the Ink team, media agencies and our advertisers. People even patiently waited through the speeches for an amazing ticket giveaway, with the grand prize of a pair of business-class return tickets to LA!
And so, while we’re only one issue in, we’re hugely excited about where we can take +852 in the months and years to come. It’s a magazine with Hong Kong in its very DNA – and what better way to celebrate that amazing city and the airline that calls it home?
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