To Invoke Or To Invest

Jan 9th, 2012, in Business & Economy, by

Garuda promotes foreign direct investment in Indonesia, in an unusual way.

Visitors to Indonesia are often surprised by one of the unique features of Indonesian airlines, found in every seat pocket:

Lion Air Invocation Card/Brochure Title Page Lion Air Invocation Card, Inside page 1 Lion Air Invocation Card Inside, Page 2
an invocation card (click for full size)

a card inviting passengers to pray for safe travel to their God - there are six choices, one for each of Indonesia's officially-recognised religions.

Presumably after a problem with invocation card theft (!), Garuda's multi-faith invocations now appear in their bulkier in-flight magazine.

However, there is now a different item in Garuda aircraft seat pockets:

Investment Brochure Page 1, Top
Indonesian Investment Brochure, Page 1 - Middle

a brochure from the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (sic) promoting foreign direct investment in Indonesia.

Some of the reasons given why foreign passengers ought to consider investing in Indonesia include:

    Indonesian Labour Costs Graph

  • - Low labour costs
  • Graph: GDP Growth Indonesia, India, China

  • - Continued economic growth during the Global Financial Crisis of 4.5% in 2009, third behind India and China
  • Graph: Indonesia's Demography

  • - The fourth largest population in the world, with over half under 29 years old
  • Indonesian Geothermal Potential Map

  • - Abundant natural resources (e.g. oil, tin) with development potential, particularly in renewable energy sources like geothermal

In addition, in December 2011 Indonesia received an investment grade sovereign debt rating from Fitch.BKPM

These statistics might impress economists and bankers. However, they might also be discouraged by the brochure's proximity to the barf bag, the plane's safety card, the standard brochure of exorbitantly-priced cosmetics and dodgy souvenirs, let alone the Garuda magazine's invocation "card"/article.

Garuda Barf Bag Garuda Seat Pocket Items
Other standard issue Garuda seat pocket items

Some might also wonder whether Indonesia's national airline has replaced the invocation card with an appeal to another god:


Mammon, the god of money

Finally, an aircraft is an unusual environment where you have to deal with many potential distractions, including annoying neighbours, families behind you with children who cry or kick your seat, and (particularly in Indonesia) pretty stewardesses.

Annoying kids on plane Pretty Express Air Stewardesses
Nice and not-so-nice in-flight distractions

Do you think putting brochures on Garuda Indonesia flights is an effective marketing ploy from the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board? If not, what would you do to promote Indonesia to potential foreign investors?

All ideas welcome: slogans, marketing strategies and pipedreams.


15 Comments on “To Invoke Or To Invest”

  1. avatar ET says:

    what would you do to promote Indonesia to potential foreign investors?

    For starters a free visa for a period of 2 (like before) or 3 months, or a system like ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) in the US by which everything is arranged online, including the confirmation of your application and the payment by credit card of a modest fee ($15).

  2. avatar Oigal says:

    I dunno, perhaps something as simple as stop detaining or threatening to detain the PD of RIM (blackberry)in a tacky attempt at blackmail. Or maybe honouring contracts and not the obvious and slimey deal handed to Singtel or shall we talk about the nonsense of the local partner getting Manulife declared bankrupt.

    Perhaps we should talk about the common knowledge business practice of the chief mud brother when he decides he wants something. Even better the little short Bugis creep, lives are no object.

    That said the brochure in the seat pocket is a great idea although I would not bother with the chicken and rooster section of the plane.

  3. avatar deta says:

    Do you think putting brochures on Garuda Indonesia flights is an effective marketing ploy from the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board?

    Don’t they think cutting the redundant bureaucracy should be the priority?

  4. avatar stevo says:

    ET, I think we need to be careful using the USA as an example of how to attract air travelers. The procedure at airports is similiar to processing prisoners, but without the same rights. Even worse, they dont have the gorgeous cabin crew !

  5. avatar ET says:

    stevo

    The procedure at airports is similiar to processing prisoners, but without the same rights.

    You mean the retina scanning and fingerprinting (or rather handprinting)? It’s true they have become paranoia about security but the procedure is quick and professional and they must have been instructed to stay friendly and polite and not intimidating. At least this is my experience and I can’t say the same about Australia. However what is more annoying is the fact that after check-in your luggage is opened for inspection and then things go ‘missing’. Only small items, not important enough to file a formal complaint, but nevertheless…

    Even worse, they dont have the gorgeous cabin crew !

    Here I fully concur. And the service is plain lousy. Even on a 6 hour coast to coast flight the only thing that’s free is a glass of water. For everything else you have to show a credit card. Even in the airports you have to pay to use a luggage caddy. Land of the ‘fee’ instead of the ‘free’, as agan here has said.

  6. avatar munguk says:

    I think it doesn’t relate with the invocation card, just a smart strategy by Garuda to point out that there is something much riskier in safety than domestic flights in Indonesia.

  7. avatar bonni says:

    Even worse, they dont have the gorgeous cabin crew !

    Absolutely true! Only in indonesia!

    Do you think putting brochures on Garuda Indonesia flights is an effective marketing ploy from the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board

    Maybe they should consider the market segmentation. Which class to put which brochures, etc, etc. Which type of passengers to give which brochures/souvenirs, etc, etc. The last time I flew with garuda, pretty stewardesses gave each kids a small doll. Which was very cute… 🙂

    If not, what would you do to promote Indonesia to potential foreign investors?

    Just make sure that indonesia is a very secure country to invest, first… Else maybe pretty stewardesses or handsome stewards distributing investment brochures or pictures of the beauty of raja ampat islands?

  8. avatar stevo says:

    Bonni, making Indonesia a ‘very secure country’ may take a little time. I won’t even begin to talk about the corruption thing, which may be a hurdle when dealing with some other cultures, though not all ! Right now its up to the pretty stewardess to promote her homeland. As shallow as that sounds, people really are one of the best assets a country can have.

    ET, I find American airports terrible and the staff unfriendly. They also offer poor customer service. Going through my worthless possessions is one thing, but cutting the lock, and leaving no note to advise me, is unprofessional. So is losing the bag.

    All airports and airlines should be run by Germans in my view (with Indonesian cabin crew).

  9. avatar Oigal says:

    I dunno, you would have to search very hard to find anyone better than Singapore Airlines.. As for the Germans how many planes did they lose looking to land in England and the Brits even provided spotlights.

  10. avatar bonni says:

    Stevo,

    Bonni, making Indonesia a ‘very secure country’ may take a little time. I won’t even begin to talk about the corruption thing, which may be a hurdle when dealing with some other cultures, though not all ! Right now its up to the pretty stewardess to promote her homeland. As shallow as that sounds, people really are one of the best assets a country can have.

    Long term plan and short term plan set, stevo! 😛

  11. avatar stevo says:

    As for the Germans how many planes did they lose looking to land in England and the Brits even provided spotlights.

    On that basis we would be looking to the French for guidence Oigal.

    Perhaps Singapore can team up with Indonesia to provide the enchantingly beautiful cabin crew. We can let the Germans sort out the engineering side of things, just like they did when they put the Yanks on the moon.

  12. avatar ET says:

    oigal

    I dunno, you would have to search very hard to find anyone better than Singapore Airlines..

    The same goes for their Changi airport, always a welcome caravanserai after being locked up for 12 hours or more in the galleys of modern age.
    Singapore Airlines is undoubtedly the best. Now if they only would do something about their exorbitant fares and not make their stewardesses – although pretty – look like fish right out of formaline.

  13. avatar Chris says:

    Slightly off-topic, but has anybody heard when the new immigration/citizenship law will take effect? (This law – amongst other things – allow spouses of Indonesians to get permanent residency from the local police station for free after two years of marriage.)

    It was passed in April 2011, but I haven’t heard anything about it since. As a point of comparison, the previous law was passed in July 2006 and came into effect in November 2006 with pictures of the Justice Minister holding a bule baby.

    I am coming towards the end of my current visa and wonder whether I should wait and hope or assume the worst…

    P.S. Bonny, yes, my young daughter once received a toy orangutan on a Garuda flight, though she didn’t really like it…

  14. avatar bonni says:

    Chris,

    Oh I’m sorry… I thought the tiger and the turtle were cute…

  15. avatar bali living says:

    If not, what would you do to promote Indonesia to potential foreign investors?

    With a three year experience on business in Indonesia, i would suggest to open a professional Indonesia wide working office for foreign investors and companies, what is helpful and professional – in a real way and not in the way of the existing BKPM – our experiences with them are very disappointing and frustrating !
    Maybe one problem is, they are placed in Jakarta and don´t care so much for the rest of Indonesia, i don´t know. But on this way they are not useful.
    Btw this BKPM increase from this year the MINIMUM investment for foreign investors from 300.000 USD into 1.2 MIO USD …. Maybe ppl with this amount of invest-able money are not using Garuda …. 🙂

    Beside all the problems with corruption and uneducated local offices are still unsolved and a big problem for all companies and not a plus to attract the country for investors ….

    I hope it will change in the future … but a lot have to change !!!!

    Good luck for all !!

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