Mahindra & Mahindra Promo, Case study THE PLANE WITH A HEART by Gippsland Aeronautics

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Industry Public Safety, Health & Hygiene
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Australia
Agency Gippsland Aeronautics
Released December 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Corporate Responsibility
Chief Executive Officer Aircraft Division: Terry Miles (Gippsland Aeronautics)
Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director: Arvind Mehra (Mahindra Aerospace Private Limited)
Director Technology: George Morgan (Gippsland Aeronautics)
Senior Vice President/Group Head, Corporate Communications: Roma Balwani (Mahindra & Mahindra)
Deputy General Manager, Corporate Communications: Sunil Gate (Mahindra & Mahindra)
Manager, Corporate Communications: Zarina Hodiwalla (Mahindra & Mahindra)
Media placement: Press Release (Bendigo) -,,, - 8 May 2010
Media placement: Press Release (Arizona) -,,,,, - 21 May 2010
Media placement: Press Release (Bangalore) - Business Standard, DNA, Bangalore Mirror, Financial Express, Hindu Business Line - 26 June 2010
Media placement: Press Release (Bangalore) - New Indian Express, Sunday Express, Sunday Pioneer, Dainik Jagran, Dina Thanthi - 26 June 2010

Summary of the Campaign
- Leverage opportunity for an Indian company to sponsor a global Corporate Social Responsibility initiative as it acquired GippsAero, Australia.
- Create a safety record for the GA8-TC Airvan.

- Build the soft image of Mahindra, the Indian MNC
- Collaborate with the governments of Victoria, Australia and Phoenix, Arizona, US.
- Establish the safety record of the single-engine Airvan.
- Develop commercial proposition for Airvan globally.
- Create employee pride, bring much needed financial stability to GippsAero

- Airvan prominently branded with Mahindra logo and Millions Against Malaria message.
- Flight path tracked on
- Create the community connect for GippsAero and Mahindra at send off and homecoming ceremonies for pilots, Ken Evers and Tim Pryse.
- A 360 degree communication plan successfully deployed globally to address all key stakeholders.

- The media blitz created the right connection for Mahindra and GippsAero with all the stakeholders. Today, there is an effective business collaboration with the Governments of Victoria, Arizona and the aerospace industry in India.
- The flight created the safety record for the airvan; while the CSR element created the right connection with all stakeholders and especially for the pilots as it raised funds for a very worthy cause.
- Airvan – established as a commercially viable global product.

The Situation
In 2009, India’s Mahindra Group forayed into the aerospace segment with the acquisition of Australia’s Gippsland Aeronautics.
Two Australian pilots, Ken Evers and Tim Pryse, decided to circumnavigate the globe with GippsAero’s GA8-TC Airvan.

They contacted GippsAero, who were very excited to establish the safety record of the single-engine aircraft, proposed they contact their new parent company, Mahindra. The CEO, Mr. Mahindra, perceived this as a worthy cause as it resonated with the company’s CSR policy.

This was also an opportunity to create awareness and build its global aerospace credentials. It was a win-win situation for the company and the cause.

The Goal

- Create the 'soft' image of Mahindra as a company with a heart

- Resurrect GippsAero employee pride as the Airvan was chosen for this groundbreaking flight.

- Develop long term relationships with the Governments of Victoria and Arizona. The plane took off from Bendigo, Victoria and Scottsdale was one of the stops en route.

- Showcase superb engineering, innovation and safety of the Airvan

- Target audience included the global aerospace community, GippsAero employees.

- Company’s research endorsed the safety of this product and the two pilots’ decision and the actual flight validated the same.

- Position Airvan as a strong commercial proposition across the world.

The Strategy

The Mahindra team put together a comprehensive campaign plan to appropriately showcase the entire event from start to finish.

The Airvan sported the Mahindra logo and Millions Against Malaria message, while the flight path could be tracked on

Special send-off and 'homecoming' events were organised for the Airvan at GippsAero headquarters in Australia, to create brand visibility for Mahindra and forge a strong bond with the local community.

Mahindra also involved local governments in Victoria, Arizona, India and GippsAero employees in the events.

To continue the momentum, the Airvan was displayed at Aero India 2011, Asia’s premier air show. One of the pilots, Tim Pryse, flew the aircraft to India and shared his experiences of flying the Airvan across the world, with visitors and potential buyers.

Post the air show, the Airvan flew to Mumbai, where journalists and customers experienced its ruggedness via brief sorties over the city.

The global circumnavigation took the Airvan and its crew across three oceans, four continents and through 16 countries on its 28,000 nautical miles round-the-World flight. Since an objective of the crew was to visit as many of the countries that are suffering the ravages of malaria, the route crossed the equator no less than six times, which meant bad weather and headwinds for most of the flight. The total flying time was 284 hours, which included an 18.5 hour crossing of the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to California and a marathon 20.4 hour non-stop flight across the African continent. Such flights require incredible physical stamina and mental resolve of the crew.

Arvind Mehra of Mahindra lauded the pilots’ efforts. George Morgan, the creator of the Airvan, endorsed its safety.

The Airvan made a special stop at Arizona where its landing coincided with the inauguration of Mahindra’s new aerospace business. Felicitation at the Innovation Center, University of Arizona, was organised to celebrate these 'two important landings' - joint press release.

The Airvan landed in Bangalore, India’s aerospace hub, to a state reception with a rare water salute. Anand Mahindra, VC and MD, Mahindra Group, Indian State Government officials, the Consul General and Trade representative of the Victoria Government were present – press conference.

In 2011, Aero India, Asia’s premier air show provided a platform to experience the Airvan which had created history. (Adapted).

Documented Results
- 80% of the targeted funds were raised through this unique endeavour.
- It endorsed the safety standards of the aircraft.
- Flight used as a case study at GippsAero to illustrate excellence in aviation technology for new recruits in his company.
- Mahindra now collaborates with the Government of Victoria for international aero shows
- The Mahindra brand grew in stature as it supported this unique cause and effectively leveraged the business opportunity.
- The Airvan has received a much needed boost with several orders from across the globe.

The Around the World flight continues to attract attention. Besides recognition by Earthrounders (the website which records all such attempts), Paris based, Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), the world's governing body for air sports and aeronautical world records, has awarded each of the Pilots an FAI Circumnavigator Badge. The badge can only be earned by pilots who circle the Earth in accordance with FAI rules.

To put this flight into historic perspective there have only ever been 21 other Australian based Round the World Flights in general aviation aircraft. A number of these have been flown by the same pilot, such as the four flights by Dick Smith and the three by John Johanson, making for a total of only fourteen first pilots, a very exclusive group.