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How Japan Airlines' ad campaigns took flight after changing its programmatic strategy


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

October 24, 2019 | 4 min read

Japan Airlines (JAL) has seen an 81% decrease in cost per click (CPC) and a 32% reduction in cost per acquisition for programmatic video and display, according to Jonathan Wan, the director of global marketing, media and social at JAL.


As people plan and compare prices online, JAL hopes its programmatic efforts can have a powerful influence on them.

The airline worked with Adobe on its Advertising Cloud demand-side platform (DSP) to change the way it ran an ad campaign. It previously had three separate ad agencies running isolated campaigns across overlapping audiences, which meant people got a disjointed experience and the airline was paying extra for it.

“We were literally bidding against ourselves in some cases and driving up advertising costs,” Wan tells The Drum. “We needed one platform to provide full transparency for our advertising campaigns.”

“With Adobe, we were able to clearly identify key channels, ads and creative that were contributing to our campaign's success. With greater visibility of data, we were able to make informed decisions with our agency partners to optimize our campaigns.”

Now, three of JAL’s agencies are using the tool to coordinate campaigns and managing audience overlap, which translates to better customer experiences, lower costs, and higher returns.

Wan says this means JAL can bring its same standard of omotenashi, which means to wholeheartedly look after guests in English, to its digital advertising. The airline claims that for everyone from sales representatives to ground crews and flight attendants, it brings a personal touch to every interaction.

As people plan and compare prices online, JAL hopes its programmatic efforts can have a powerful influence on their decision-making process.

Programmatic also has the potential to provide critical information and create experiences that set the tone for every interaction between an airline and its customers, explains Wan, which is why it is important for JAL to get it right.

For companies like JAL that successfully integrate targeted ads into their overall Customer Experience Management (CXM) strategies, the sky’s the limit, says Wan.

“We leveraged Adobe Ad Cloud's premium inventory management system and integration with various data sources to help us identify the right audience, and to reach them within the right context in a brand-safe environment,” he adds.

Another reason JAL chose Adobe Ad Cloud was to tap the potential benefits of future integration within the full Adobe solution stack.

According to Wan, Ad Cloud’s seamless integration with Adobe Creative Cloud allows for quicker revisions, which is already a big part of JAL’s strategy moving forward.

“Combined with Ad Cloud's ability to create feed-driven creative, it has changed the way we approach creative production and messaging even before the Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) is implemented,” he explains.

“No longer are we creating generic messaging for the masses but relevant messaging for each individual.”

As APAC-based holidaymakers continue to seek out international destinations more than any other region, JAL's revamped programmatic video and display advertising will be an important tool for succeeding in established and new markets.

The airline will hope this is enough to achieve its dreams of becoming much more targeted and personalised, reaching new customers in a way that will reflect its commitment to service and hospitality.

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