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The Use Of The Number "8" For Marketing Purposes  
User currently offlineKFLLCFII From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3296 posts, RR: 30
Posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4252 times:

Taking a tangent off this thread:

787, 797... Then What? (by Yflyer Mar 4 2007 in Civil Aviation)

Here's an open-ended question for everyone.

Has utilizing the number "8" discriminately in aircraft type identifications for marketing purposes, when it's not simply the next number in the fleet's sequence, actually been proven to be effective in terms of aircraft sales swinging one way or the other? What if the aircraft had no competition to begin with?

Would the A380 have sold any less if Airbus simply went with the next number in the sequence at the time (A350)? And going deeper, would the -800 derivative have sold any less if it simply was labeled accordingly as the first subtype in the fleet (-100)?

The 787 title aside (because it merely followed the 777)...Would the -8 derivative of it have sold any less if it also was simply labeled accordingly as its position in the fleet?

Would the -800 derivative of the A350 have sold any less if it too was known as the A350-100?

And for that matter, has an aircraft manufacturer ever gained a *single* order because instead of starting the subtype classification at -100, it began at -200?

In the grand scheme of things, is this just an unnecessary step on the part of aircraft manufacturers, in that aircraft sales are really gained by the financial / mechanical merits of the aircraft themselves, or by airline capacity / fleet renewal need, or by some other outside political pressure, etc?

I'm curious to hear your responses.


"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4229 times:

One of the reasons why the number 8 is playing a role in a/c designation is that in Asian culture, 8 is a lucky number. Asian customers are quite important for both the 787 and the A-380, so by putting that lucky number in the designation, they hope to attract orders from Asian carriers.

User currently offlineKFLLCFII From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3296 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4185 times:

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 1):
One of the reasons why the number 8 is playing a role in a/c designation is that in Asian culture, 8 is a lucky number. Asian customers are quite important for both the 787 and the A-380, so by putting that lucky number in the designation, they hope to attract orders from Asian carriers.

I'm aware of that. But my goal of this thread is to take it one step further and ask this: Has the mere interjection of the number "8" in aircraft type designations actually been *proven* to be effective in terms of swinging aircraft sales one way or the other, or for orders of aircraft which have no competition?

Or is this just an unnecessary step on the part of aircraft manufacturers in that aircraft sales are really gained by the financial / mechanical merits of the aircraft themselves, or by airline capacity / fleet renewal need, or by some other outside political pressure, etc?

What say you?



"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9503 posts, RR: 52
Reply 3, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4149 times:

I don't think the number 8 really has won any orders. However if people prefer flying on a plane with a lucky number, then that is good. Airbus and Boeing fight for more than just orders. Have you ever noticed how much Boeing advertises? It's not like the ordinary person is going to buy a new jet or influence an airline, but they may buy Boeing stock. Boeing wants to increase its stock and offering new planes with the number 8 may help lure some Asian investors.


If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineBosWashSprStar From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4147 times:

Quoting KFLLCFII (Thread starter):
Would the A380 have sold any less if Airbus simply went with the next number in the sequence at the time (A350)? And going deeper, would the -800 derivative have sold any less if it simply was labeled accordingly as the first subtype in the fleet (-100)?

The 787 title aside (because it merely followed the 777)...Would the -8 derivative of it have sold any less if it also was simply labeled accordingly as its position in the fleet?

I think this naming convention also builds on the old rule, "Never buy version 1.0 of anything." An analogue (well, a somewhat random one) is when Microsoft released Windows NT--the forerunner to Windows XP--the first version was labeled Windows NT 3.1 to line it up with then regular Windows 3.1, even though it was version 1.0 of the NT platform.

Likewise, the idea of flying a -100 or -200 aircraft feels outdated and reminiscent of the many beat-up old 737s and 747s that have mostly been retired. Whereas launching the 787 in particular with a 787-800 puts it in the same mental frame of reference as the nicer new 737-800.


User currently onlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30580 posts, RR: 84
Reply 5, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 4132 times:
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Quoting KFLLCFII (Thread starter):
Has utilizing the number "8" discriminately in aircraft type identifications for marketing purposes, when it's not simply the next number in the fleet's sequence, actually been proven to be effective in terms of aircraft sales swinging one way or the other?

I would imagine not.

As noted, "8" is a lucky number in Asian countries, yet "4" is the opposite and it hasn't hurt sales of the 747-400 or the A340 much in that part of the world.

Boeing probably would have gotten more marketing mileage out of staying with the "7E7" with the "E" standing for "efficiency" then they would the 787 with the "8" being a "lucky" number.

And Airbus probably would have been better off with the A380 being the "A370" to get the "lucky 7" in the nomenclature, as well as offering a logical three-tier replacement strategy: A350 for the A320RS, A360 for the A330/A340RS and A370 for the new-market VLA.


User currently offlineGFFgold From Indonesia, joined Feb 2007, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 4060 times:

Don't underestimate the value of the number '8' for sales. Even hard-nosed businesspeople in this part of the world will freely let superstition get the better of them when parting with money. House number 88 will fetch a much better price than those at 87 or 89 even if they are identical units. People pay large sums of money for car registrations, telephone numbers and even tax codes with the magic 8888 in them. Even numbers that add up in the right way go for a premium - 6226 or 7117 for example.

Applying western mindsets to things like this is misleading.


User currently onlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30580 posts, RR: 84
Reply 7, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 4048 times:
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Quoting GFFgold (Reply 6):
Applying western mindsets to things like this is misleading.

Yes, but the Eastern mindset for commerce must be a prudent and practical one, otherwise their economies would not be so strong, no?

So an Eastern airline would not buy a plane just because it has a "lucky number" if it was totally inappropriate to the mission at hand and they will buy one with an "unlucky number" - even two in the case of the 744 - if it best meets the mission.

Just as a Western airline won't buy a 777 to fly SEA-PDX because it has three lucky numbers in a row, where a 737 only had two, and at each end to boot.


User currently offlineGFFgold From Indonesia, joined Feb 2007, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3985 times:

I'm not at all suggesting that an airline will order wildly different planes just because one has a sexier number than the other - I'm saying don't underestimate the effect. If it came to a tough choice between two very close rivals the number would probably be enough to swing it. Lucky '7's in the West are a completely different concept to lucky or unlucky numbers in east and southeast Asia. I'm not sure I can properly describe that difference in words, but markerteers should ignore it at their peril.

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