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How Gravity Global surpassed all metrics and had the best B2B brand initiative for CFM International

See how the Gravity Global and CFM International partnership outperformed all key metrics and won campaign of the year 2016 in the Air Transport World Awards


The campaign strategy for 2015/16 for CFM Leap was to increase awareness and positive brand sentiment for its new jet engine LEAP, powering the next generation of single aisle aircraft. This is a fiercely competitive market with CFM competing in a segment with world famous brands. The total campaign activity cost $3.5m.


1. Help the business break through the 10,000 orders milestone and maintain market leadership over the next 12 months.
2. Build fame into the brand and outperform the competitor set in terms of awareness and recall.
3. Increase admiration from aircraft operators by improving positive brand sentiment.
4. Build belief with the messaging and increase influence with the activity.

Gravity created the brand, the messaging and campaign activity for what is now the fastest selling jet engine in aviation history – CFM Leap. The order book to-date stands at 10,500 engines with a total value of $147bn. From April 15-April 16, 950 additional engines have been ordered with a total value of over $13bn. A campaign cost of $3,684 for each $14m engine ordered during the qualifying 12 months was achieved.

About the client company

CFM International is a 50/50 joint venture between GE in the United States and Safran Group in France. Its combined forces in CFM have developed the LEAP jet engine with many ground-breaking firsts in jet engine commercial aviation technology. This next generation engine is more efficient and more reliable helping aircraft operators be more successful and profitable.

The new LEAP engine includes 1003 patented innovations that deliver the two main benefits of efficiency and reliability. The first commercial in-service flights are due to take place in 2016.

Strategy: broader business issues the company is facing

According to industry research, the market opportunity over the next 20 years sizes the single-aisle segment as 26,730 aircraft. To date, only 7334 aircraft are firm orders with a market value of an astounding $720.6bn already achieved. Airbus with the A320 NEO has secured 4414 orders and Boeing with the 787 MAX securing 2931 as at the end of 2015.

The key challenge

Only Airbus has offered their airline customers a choice of engine manufacturer and the two main contenders are CFM International with LEAP and Pratt & Whitney with Pure Power. At the end of 2015 there remained 1942 firm orders for Airbus aircraft still to declare engine selection and each aircraft needs at least two engines.

CFM LEAP is in the lead winning 30%

of the Airbus opportunity versus 26% choosing P&W Pure Power. However, 44% remains open. So the fight is on to win the undeclared engine selection and to position the brands to capitalise on the enormous future market opportunity. One of the main challenges is that CFM International does not have the benefit of having a brand name that is instantly recognisable for jet engine manufacturing like its competitor – Pratt & Whitney, or the other famous brands in the sector like Rolls Royce etc.

The other challenge is that the industry competes by claiming similar performance improvements with any next generation offerings. However, by the very nature of being next generation the airlines need convincing. So the CFM LEAP strategy was to build an argument to evidence certainty of reliability and performance (the main criteria for aircraft engine selection) delivered by technological innovation.

Objectives of the campaign

The campaign objectives were four fold:

1. Raise awareness and outperform legendary brands such as Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce.
2. Increase favourability and evidence improved positive sentiment.
3. Increase belief and credibility with the market messaging.
4. Increase interest, sales visits and breakthrough 10,000 orders.

The target audience

1. Customers: Airlines, lessors, aircraft manufacturers, maintenance and overhaul shops
2. Analysts and financial community: Appraisers, consultants, bankers, aviation insurers
3. Aviation opinion formers
4. Suppliers
5. Employees

This audience is easily defined but tough to get access to, especially when the brand is less well-known than the other players.

Media, channels or techniques used

This sector is well-served by specialist media both off and online and has major airshow events that are well attended by the global aerospace community. Standing out, being relevant and connecting in this marketplace was the task. The programme was made up of the following:

  • Print and online advertising and sponsorship activity to create awareness across the year and specifically during airshow events in aerospace specific media
  • To drive web traffic and visitor attendance at key events
  • Social media to create buzz and improve engagement
  • Paid search
  • YouTube videos
  • PR – managed by client
  • EDMs
  • Event marketing at airshows, including exhibiting, outdoor at airports and airshow, print, digital, experiential, and presentation activities.

Timescales of the campaign

The campaign is ongoing but this submission focuses on the activities April 15-April 16. Trade media has a constant presence throughout the year and increases weight during key events. Delegations at the trade shows are targeted with a full mix of communication tools. The major events in this period were:

  • 15th – 21st June 2015 – Paris Air Show 2015
  • 25th – 30th August 2015 – MAKS Air Show, Russia 2015
  • 8th – 12th November 2015 – Dubai Air Show 2015
  • 21 – 22 January 2016 – Bahrain Airshow 2016
  • 16 – 21 February 2016 – Singapore Airshow 2016
  • 16 – 20 March 2016 – India Aviation Airshow 2016
  • 29 March 2016 – FIDAE Air Show – Spanish section. 

Special events

1. 29 February 2016 – LEAP YEAR DAY

As it is a LEAP Year and the product is called LEAP, Gravity ran a one day only campaign with special creative, online only, taking over prime billboard and splash pages in four key global titles:

2. 14th April 2016 – celebration day easyJet 20 years

Supporting easyJet celebrating 20 years in business and working with the client CFM. Digital poster campaign in Luton and Charles De Gaulle Airports – on the day the senior easyJet team were travelling to and from Paris to celebrate with the CFM team.


In November 2015 the campaign was independently researched by Signet Research Inc. The research was commissioned by Air Transport World, with over 900 respondents from the global airline industry that hold a position to influence the purchase of the product or service advertised. The respondents were asked to select the most memorable and influential aerospace advertisement of 2015 and the best overall campaign of 2015.

In February 2016 CFM International won the Air Transport World: Gold Award for Best Engine advertising and Campaign of The Year 2016.

Beating all other aerospace advertisers including CFM’s main competitors Pratt & Whitney and Boeing and Airbus that spend more on campaigning then any other aerospace brands.

In a separate study by Signet Research Inc in March 2016 showed that CFM campaign achieved:

  • Recall seeing 83%
  • Recall reading 63%
  • Recall seeing 65%
  • Recall reading 58%.

The most impressive stat is that CFM achieved a 33% higher score with respondents stating they had seen a salesperson as a result.

A further independent study by Reed Business International during the Paris Airshow in June 2015 surveyed 1300 attendees and non-attendees to the show regarding the performance of the campaign.

CFM achieved the highest score with 94% agreeing the campaign made an impact, 87% for clarity of message and 88% for credibility and effectiveness of key message. With 61% of the audience more likely to recommend LEAP as a result of the activity.

The study showed CFM achieved the highest score in terms of impact of the top five engine brands.

  • 33% stated CFM made the biggest impression
  • 24% Rolls Royce
  • 18% GE
  • 14% Pratt & Whitney
  • 11% Safran

The study also showed CFM being best at getting its message across.

  • 28% stating CFM
  • 24% Rolls Royce
  • 22% GE
  • 13% Safran
  • 9% Pratt & Whitney

Client testimonials

“The campaign activity has outperformed in 2015/16 with all our key metrics not only met but surpassed. As an added bonus winning campaign of the year 2016 in the Air Transport World Awards was a great honour. Gravity and CFM International are an incredible partnership achieving incredible outcomes for the business,” Neil Siddons, senior communications leader, GE Aviation. 

B2B Marketing Awards 2016

This submission won

Best brand initiative

at the B2B Marketing Awards 2016: ‘CFM International sales campaign 2015/2016’ for CFM International by Gravity Global.

See the winners

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