Up, Up, and Away

7 years ago

First taking flight this past March, Israeli Airline “UP” has begun spreading it’s wings across the Middle East and Europe. UP is a child-airline of Israeli owned El Al, and flies from Israel to various cities within the continent offering a more budget friendly approach to flight. The airline will fill a hole in Israeli travel as no other airline had a low-cost approach, and UP while cheaper than El Al flights, also has reduced services like additional fees for choosing seats, checking baggage and higher price for preferred seats.  While, yes, the planes will fly “up” in the air, the name, branding and design has been categorized more as a two thumbs down.

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Branding a low budget airline, a name like “UP” seems backwards, isn’t the plane supposed to represent cheap and lower costs? The name doesn’t seem to represent what the company is or what it achieves. It just explains that the plane flies “up” in the air, something that doesn’t really set it apart from any other airline.

El Al uses the Israeli flag as its logo. The airline’s advertisements and planes are usually recognized by their Israeli colors of royal blue and white and the display of the Israeli flag across the plane’s tail. UP followed suit with placing the Israeli flag on the tail of each plane, but decorated the plane body in a sky blue color scattered with white clouds. What resulted is a bright almost cartoon-like plane body, with a more sophisticated tail. Perhaps if the sky blue color extended to the plane’s tail with the Israeli flag emblem still displayed, the plane design would flow more naturally, but the difference between the colors offers a very awkward transition.

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Another oddity is the airline’s slogan “just look up”. The airline’s advertisements show people pointing to the sky with excitement as they notice and recognize the UP planes flying through the sky. The idea of the slogan makes sense, their airline is noticeably different from anything else offered in the region and poses opportunity for those wanting to travel, but were once limited due to financial reasons. But if the airline is going for an identifiable and unique look, why would they make their planes blend in with the sky? I would think they would take the Southwest Airlines approach which painted the bellies of their planes bright red, a color which catches the eye when flying thousands of miles overhead.

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This is a Southwest Airlines plane.  Notice the differences?
This is a Southwest Airlines plane. Notice the differences?

While the idea is there, the branding falls short with UP. With the airline still being relatively new, it’s too soon to tell how successful it will be, but I’d recommend putting their heads together one more time and coming up with a more creative unique branding idea.

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