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Ryanair busts out 2012 cabin girls calendar
The discount airline's annual publicity stunt has arrived, but is it "cheap" enough?
Have you ever pictured your flight attendant semi-naked, oily, with her lips slightly parted as she serves up that over-priced Coke?
Neither have we. But now you can. The super sexified “Ryanair Cabin Crew Charity Calendar” went on sale last week.
You've got to hand it to that publicity team. As far as Ryanair publicity stunts go, this is one of their classier efforts.
It's not like there's no competition -- even if "airline cabin crew calendars" are an admittedly limited commodity.
Last year flight attendant Coral Perez spearheaded the Mexicana Airlines calendar when the company filed for bankruptcy.
The stewardess rounded up 10 fellow former flight attendants to pool money to create a sexy swimsuit calendar in the hope of attracting attention to the financially troubled airline.
The campaign was a hit. Initially 1,000 calendars were produced, but a second print run of 3,000 was ordered due to the media buzz.
Despite the efforts by the stripping stewardesses, a year later the fate of Mexicana Airlines is currently still being evaluated, according to its official website.
Calendars can be cool
The association between babes and flight is also evident with Kingfisher's annual swimsuit calendar.
The Indian airline and brewery brand uses real models (not flight attendants) in its calendars, considered the Pirellis of Asia. While the poses are not related to flight, it's still a great tool for brand awareness.
But if it's brand awareness they're after, hasn't Ryanair done this all wrong?
Determined through multifarious attention-grabbing stunts to be seen and heard as Europe's cheapest, penny-pinchiest airline, the images we've seen of this 2012 Ryanair calendar almost seem too good.
Yes, it has peeled off the signature blue uniform from its genetically talented cabin crew, replacing it with bikinis and sometimes nothing.
But there actually seems to be a modicum of taste present here -- the girls with a motor-oil glow of previous calendars have been replaced with 1950s curled up coifs, ruby-red lips and winged eyeliner, transforming the "runway models" into potential Don Draper conquests.
Plus, the proceeds from the 2012 calendar will go to DEBRA, a charity for children with the fragile genetic skin disorder Epidermolysis Bullosa.
Ryanair likes a bit of cheek
Coming from the airline that made headlines last month by announcing a one-toilet policy to make room for six more seats on their Boeing 737-800, it almost feels try-hard.
But this too might just be another (successful) attention-grabbing spin on something old.
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Despite, or perhaps because of, the fleshy presentation, the airline still is one of the most popular in Europe.
Month on month, passenger numbers grew 4 percent to 7.27 million in October 2011. The airline carried 77.1 million people in the first 10 months of 2011, it said.
Last year Mary Honeyball, the Labour Member of the European Parliament, accused Ryanair of "forcing" cabin crew to take part of the calendar.
In response, Ryanair's cheeky CEO Michael O'Leary sent her a free copy of the calendar.
The airline website states that Ryanair’s cabin crew volunteer to take part, and last year over 800 of the airline’s 4,000 cabin crew applied for the charity calendar.
The Ryanair calendars sell for €10 (US$13.80) on Ryanair flights or online at www.ryanair.com.