Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nok Air raises eyebrows with controversial advert for cabin crew recruitment!

Nok Air's new recruitment advert on Facebook
Is this advert from Thailand's Nok Air bracist?
While most airlines are happy to receive coverage for their service achievements, route developments or aircraft deliveries, Thailand’s Nok Air is well aware that capturing the media’s attention is much easier with something outlandish.

Some time back, for example, the budget carrier was placed under the global spotlight as a result of its eye-catching livery (featuring cartoon birds) - photos of which were splashed across newspapers throughout the world.

Great publicity aside, the livery was also featured in a list of the ‘7 Ugliest Airplane Paint Jobs’ by Huffington Post… oh dear!

Nok Air (whose slogan is ‘We Fly Smiles’) also angered Thailand’s Ministry of Culture earlier this year after loading its 2013 calendar with photos of scantily-clad air hostesses.

Media reports quoted the ministry as saying that the campaign "focuses on the country's bad reputation regarding sex services, and an image that other organisations have been trying to change". Again... oh dear!

Despite the opposition, 300 of the calendars were handed out as part of a Facebook competition; although it later emerged the women were Maxim models, rather than actual flight attendants.

Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin was defiant and reasoned that the airline business has “always been seen as sexy globally”.

"It was supposed to be a gift to our customers, and so far the campaign has received positive feedback, increasing the number of passengers," he told a Bangkok newspaper. “There were so many viewers that the webpage crashed.” So perhaps the shock tactics are working after all?

And here’s another story that Nok Air can add to its list. This month, the Huffington Post (amongst others) has written about a recruitment advert for cabin crew, which was placed on the Nok Air Facebook page (I’ve included it at the bottom of this blog post).

Applicants must be 25 years old or younger, at least 160cm tall (with proportional weight), and “exhibit professionalism and friendliness”.

Not too shocking so far, right? However, there's one more demand – if you happen to wear braces, then don’t bother to apply! That’s right… there’s an outright ban on flight attendants that wear braces. Some would even say the airline is being 'bracist' (I offer no apologies for that terrible play with words).

The advert and calendar send out a clear signal of what passengers can expect in terms of air hostesses on Nok Air flights, but once again the media coverage has mainly been critical.

I've included the advert below - what are your thoughts? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Nok Air has raised eyebrows with its latest recruitment advert for flight attendants
The advert, as it appeared on Nok Air's Facebook page


  1. Juditha-Jade PARKINSONMarch 10, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    One has class or don't have it. Some people confused sexiness with vulgarity. And some companies (individuals) will do everything to sell their products up to the point of using sex. What a desperate effort to get attention. I'm proud that this kind of advert can never pass the first base in Belgium or probably even in any members of the European Union.

  2. Refreshing with a twist :)

  3. Jack Milavic, Ph.DMarch 10, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    It is time all of us dispense with socially acceptable tags and demand excellence. I desire an attractive lady attendant over any overweight, functionally illiterate, any and all times.

  4. Considering I've had flight attendants who have utterly disgusted me, I'm alright with this. Professionalism is important, but image is important for business. If someone associates a certain airline with desirable flight attendants, then their more likely to be flown(by men, at least).

  5. Not sure what the fuss is all about. All airlines like to recruit good looking cabin crew (male and female) if the advert does not specify age, height, weight etc. You can bet your bottom dollar it’s all taken into consideration when recruiting.

  6. I don't see what's wrong with not hiring flight attendants who wear braces -- if the company decides that braces detract from their attractiveness and their overall quality of services, then they have every right not to hire people who wear braces! (Just like they have a right not to hire pilots who are colorblind or who have bad English diction.)

  7. The trend of creating shock-waves in order to increase sales is an old practices, and not new to the market. The approach used by this company might not be a shared in value nor acceptable to some, sure the methods been and needs more scrutiny.

    Personally I see it not appropriate at all, especially at time when the industry is trying hard to re-birth it self as an a true industry contributing to world economy, rather as seen as "brothel". Testing the boundaries might not always be success story.

  8. Disagree with the advert. Whether someone has dental braces or not does not detract from their ability to do the job. Rather have them with dental braces than unable to speak English. What's next same for flight crew? Cabin crew are there primarily for safety not looks.

  9. hilarious! "It (the calendar) was supposed to be a gift to our customers" - are Nok Airs customers only men then? I personally would not be too happy with the gift from Nok Air and it would end up in the bin, along with Nok Air's reputation....

    I quite like the advert, although the braces bit is puzzling - esp since many braces these days are made to be invisible. Maybe Nok Air could be given the benefit of the doubt here, perhaps the airline thinks braces could perhaps pose a threat to airline security and even potentially be used as a weapon? Or maybe not.....

  10. These are normal requirements for cabin crew. What's controversial about the advert? I concur with the issue of braces. Braces do affect the smile!

  11. All that I have to say about this controversial issue is: Where can I get a Calendar?


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