York on Ads: No 4: Garuda Airlines

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The Independent Culture
INDONESIA looks like being the Next Big Thing in developing countries. So it has to sell itself as an investment opportunity and a tourist destination. The key token of its progress is the national carrier, Garuda. Its advertising bears the burden of branding Indonesia, making it sound deeply atmospheric and on-your-bike modern.

Unlike other Asian airlines, Garuda features none of the standard Club Class imagery - mail-order bride air-hostesses and so on. Instead it has a bare-chested little boy in a long skirt singing what is presumably a national song but has an oddly Johnny Mathis Christmas sort of sound. Interesting pictures of ethnicity and modernity are mixed around him. Tall office buildings, aero engines and flying atoms dissolve to temples, priests, gongs, birdcages, hilltop views and fires (ethnic travelogues always have sacred flames - the molten-gold look). It's very nicely made by Garuda's agency, Boase Massimi Pollitt Doyle Dane Bernbach Needham Worldwide, originating from its Singapore office.

'As we race for the future, we haven't forgotten the past,' it says on the screen. Which past exactly, one wonders, remembering the Sukarno years. And who actually pays for this - Garuda, the Indonesian Tourist Board or the Indonesian Estates Corporation?

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