Brands that deserve to die. Part 1-Ryanair

by Andrew Watson on 10 April 2012

I for one can’t name another brand that is so universally, well continentally, used but loathed as Ryanair. It’s surely rare that so many people use a brand but so many also loathe it. Count me in on the loathers of this skanky, take the piss out of customers, offer so little in terms of a customer experience, piece of travel turd. That felt good, there is surely nothing like travelling Takethepiss Air to stimulate the creative juices and scour the depths of loathing. 

Let’s Go with Ryanair this quarter has a picture of it’s chief skank officer, claiming “thank you for choosing to fly with Ryanair, the worlds favourite airline”…ha! firstly nobody in their right mind would “choose” to ride with your airline, it’s just there is often no choice. Second, just because a lot of people use your airline doesn’t make it a favourite….people use it often as there is no choice, but that doesn’t mean using it is anything other than a tortuous, horrific and awful customer experience. Look up favourite in any dictionary Mr o Bleary, you’ll find words that describe an experience you’ll want to repeat, not something that is anticipated with dread and regret for choosing one of the worlds truly dreadful customer experiences. 

Looking at this objectively and with an advisors hat on, what is it that is wrong with Ryanair? Let me give you two very fresh examples. I’m flying back from Sevilla and find I’m 4 kilos over. Bugger, I think. I thought it was close but not over, as the smiling assistant tells me that will be €80 to pay. €80!  Not that they haven’t got space, it’s just another way of taking the piss by maximising profit at the customers expense. Loathe point #1. Angry, disillusioned, yes I know you charge but it’s like excess parking charges and private contractors who enforce them…punish me but please there is no need to take the piss because it makes me hate you. There is just no need. I’m then standing in the queue to board and I’ve got my tennis racket in my backpack. Sorry, can’t travel with that even though we have tons of space in the cabin. That will be…..let’s pause to let you guess……..that will be an arbitrary and punishing, way out of context and scale €50 to put that in the cabin. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. 

I totally utterly and absolutely despise you Ryanair and I hold you personally responsible Michael o Leary. Don’t think you can be the smiling laughing face of Ryanair doing your aeroplane impression in your magazine and expect that the shit doesn’t stick. Ugh, yuk, aaaarggh, steam. 

So if I were your adviser on brand what would I say? Get to know what your customers like and want. And get to know what it feels like when someone is taking the piss and only trying to take every penny from your pocket during the experience. Look at Apple if you want to learn. A brand with universal appeal and massive margins in the most hostile competitive environment, but which will achieve longevity by delighting it’s customers. Not in showing contempt for them. Just because you started out with a taking the piss apparently low cost but not really model, don’t feel that need to perpetuate it. Adapt, take slightly lower profits to engender goodwill. Find new roots and brand values. Grow up! Probably replace the founder with someone who cares even 1% about customers and not 100% about profit. 

Or what? Or else you will find in time that people will delight in finding an alternative. And alternatives there will be, as you’ll grow too big and, like Tesco, you’ll cap out and start slipping back and never recover. It will happen and you know it. And by the time you realise it will be too late to adapt. 

There are barriers to entry but they aren’t that high and you aren’t that cheap any more. So learn and adapt or please, just die. 

As an anecdote for you btw, I travelled by Easyjet to Sevilla in November and, to my amazement, one of the worlds favourite brands, Rafael Nadal, travelled on the same flight (now isn’t that cool, with Cisca too, braving the natives to travel at 7am from Gatwick and he didn’t even have speedy boarding!) With a huge bag of Babolat rackets on his back. Any extra charge for that bag. No? You see Easyjet has adapted, caused by a change in founder. Profit sacrificed for longevity. It can happen. If it doesn’t with Ryanair, then sell. Fast. 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick White 04.10.12 at 7:09 pm

You are wasted on this blog Andrew. Thanks for making me grin. Ryanair makes money and does have loyal customers. Like you I’m not one of them. I won’t bore you with my horror story! The “brand” is appropriate for the advertised customer experience is it not?

Ryanair is a well known “brand” for delivering low cost flight’s for those who play by their rules. For the appropriate customers the customer experience is fantastic. I thought everyone knew what the brand stood for….or more appropriately what it does not stand for. Mr Bleary does not exactly shy away from the downsides of Ryanair as perceived by others; he thinks they are a positive in the context of the overall package. For their market I think they believe that for most customers breaking a rule will cost them a month’s wages so they will play by the rules and reap the…..err…..rewards! I suppose that when any customer does break the rules they think they are either mad or moneybags so let’s whack them in the hope they will p**s off to BA as we don’t have time to give them service.

What the hell were you doing trying to take a tennis racket on a Ryanair flight? I’m surprised they realised what it was. Must have been a smart tennis racket or of sentimental value. You could have binned it and put the €50 towards a new one! You can always spot the Ryanair customers at check-in they are the ones ditching the cheap holiday towels that cost €2 each or an old pair of shoes.

Another misconception Andrew; you imagine that Mr Bleary is interested in longevity for Ryanair something that is the Holy Grail of brands. He does not give a flying fig about that.

Tim Jackson 04.10.12 at 8:46 pm

Michael O’Leary goes into a bar in Dublin and orders a pint of draught Guinness.

Barman: “Certainly Mr O’Leary. That’ll be one euro please.”
O’Leary: “One euro for a pint of Guinness? Wow, that’s really cheap!”
Barman: “And will you be wanting a glass with that?”

redspin 07.11.12 at 3:10 pm

The only reason why such a piece of shit of a company, with the worst product ever is still alive is the monopoly they have on most cheap European flights. Through airports and authorities manipulation, corruption and collusion they have become a monopolistic corporation.

In Ireland there are 2 airlines only, Aer Lingus (a cheap-low quality airlines with long haul prices for short destination flights and a bankrupt semi-state company still afloat thanks to our taxes) and the garbage of the air ryanfucking air.

If you want to get away quickly from the island, you just have no choice. That is why, given the monopoly of detritus fuckinryan air, you end up prisoner in one of their shitty planes to stand humiliation after humiliation on board by members of their staff.

I’ve taken planes in many countries and continents, some with a reputation of not being safe at all. Still the worst company I ever flew with is piece of shit air, fuckinryanair.

When will the criminal o’leary start to understand that we are just waiting nother companies to come in the market, take over and expel his vomiting company in the infinite emptiness of his huge asshole ?

Andrew Watson 07.11.12 at 4:04 pm

Strongly worded but it does add the right degree of emphasis and is objective to it desrves to pass the editing board. I haven’t changed my view of O Leary. In fact post Diamond Bob, it seems all despots the world over should be sleeping a little less soundly.

Nick White 07.11.12 at 4:34 pm

Interesting how the key property right Mr O’Bleary has in his hand is not his brand (which is close to Sh*t* status) but his water tight contracts for his routes with those equally sh*t* little airports he uses. They, although colluding, take none of the flack.

But will the brand die? I can’t see it whilst most of the people in the Anglo Saxon west know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. So you see the real problem is us and our interminable desire for lower cost… any cost….even our own cost. The suspension of disbelief when someone offers you a flight to Europe for £9 each way….give me a break….I made the mistake once and felt foolish.

It is sad however when you don’t have much of a choice. Life’s a bitch.

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