The iconic Singapore Girl has gone from centre stage to back seat in Singapore Airlines' new advertising blitz, which goes public next week.
She is still part of the show but the focus is on how SIA goes to great lengths to give customers the best - be it tea from China, art movies from Venice or leather from Scotland for its seats.
A five-minute video clip posted on the airline's Facebook page gives a sneak peek of what customers can expect and the work that went into putting the campaign together.
In it, SIA acting senior vice-president (sales and marketing) Chin Yau Seng said: "We know that every Singapore Girl is seen as an icon and with this campaign, we are taking a fresh approach."
The airline's last multi-million-dollar advertising campaign in 2011 featured a clip of the sarong kebaya-clad SIA Girl gliding through the streets of iconic cities. Along the way, she greets people with a smile here and a wave there.
The new campaign is "very much about the spirit behind Singapore Airlines", said Mr Sheldon Hee, vice-president (marketing communications and development). It is about "the lengths we go to" to ensure every customer "feels at home, feels taken care of, feels his needs are anticipated and that we look out for him". Mr Robin Nayak, head of strategy at SIA's ad agency, TBWA Singapore, said in the Facebook clip: "As times change, the brand needs to evolve with those changes... What we wanted to do was create a fresher, more relevant, more contemporary look for the airline."
SIA spokesman Nicholas Ionides declined to reveal more, saying all will be revealed next week.
With rivals like Emirates and Cathay Pacific nipping at its heels, SIA is investing billions in new planes, in-flight products and airport lounges.
The airline has also roped in partner carriers to widen its global network and reach. But it is the service culture personified by the SIA Girl that gives it an edge, its top brass has said repeatedly.
Associate Professor of marketing education Seshan Ramaswami from Singapore Management University said: "The Singapore Girl has been an iconic symbol for SIA and certainly the strong association of that icon with superlative in-flight service... has served the airline very well over the years."
Keeping the Girl but moving some of the focus away from her is a good way to inject a fresh, modern perspective, branding experts said.