Repurposing a food menu: from information to experience
From description To engagement
We approached MEA, as we saw an opportunity to tell a story to passengers on the plane. The food menu, which is handed out to thousands of passengers everyday, and not taken back (for security reasons) every day seemed like a lost opportunity in which we could engage passengers in fun, surprising and unexpected ways.
We set our own mission: turn the menu & food into an engaging sensory experience.
The menu became a tool to share stories about Lebanon, the culture and Middle East Airlines, a local icon for Lebanese travel.
Middle East Airlines – Air Liban is what we can refer to as a legendary airline. It is intrinsic to Lebanese history and culture. Established in 1945, MEA started servicing neighboring cities. Later in the 1960s, it started catering Europe, Africa and the entire Middle East. It has survived wars and political instability during the major crisis that hit Lebanon. In 2011, MEA became part of the Sky team Alliance. MEA has always felt, to any lebanese citizen, as a part of the culture.
MEA is composed of two classes, Cedar Class, which is the equivalent of a Business Class, and the Economy class. We had a different approach for each class, enhancing their respective identities and positioning. For both menus, one of our challenges was to shift from a paper read and thrown, to an object that would be taken out of context and kept as a memory.
Inspire an Experience
Our aim was to elevate the Cedar Class experience, making it more exclusive, luxurious and refined.
Our Cedar Class is composed of two parts, the cover and the inside. We treated the cover as a special editions print, that would showcase culture, art or reinterpretations of the airline. It was essential for us to use this cover as an inspiring communication tool that would allow travelers to go on a poetic trip, in which they would encounter a new perspective on how we view Lebanon. Each Edition (re-invented on a yearly basis) had up to 5 different covers, and depending on the flight or passenger seat, they would get a different design. We wanted passengers to treat this menu as a collectible graphic print, that would stay with them way beyond the flight time.
Regarding the inside menu, we refined the copy to appeal to the senses, and enhance the culinary experience.
The approach we followed for the economy class was smart, informative, fun, surprising. We developed the MEA One Sheet Newspaper. One third is dedicated to the food menu, and the two thirds remaining were entertainment space; spaces where news, stretching & traveling tips, information specific to each destination, games would converge.
We wanted to turn this sheet of paper into a media that would be read, written upon, played with, transformed; extending its life span, for a moment to a long-lasting memory.
Some key sections we created and played around with:
Tips for the traveler (pre, during and post flight) / interactive play / about MEA (history, fleet, announcements, fun facts)/ about Lebanon & the culture / tips for the traveler / destination specific content (about the country, key sentences to learn, sightseeing)
Issue 1: Contemporary Lebanese Art through modern calligraphy, artworks by Samir Al Sayegh
Issue 2: the 70 years Anniversary, celebrating the story of MEA
Issue 3: Sea/ Sky Photography
Issue 4: Inauguration of the new uniforms through illustrations
Special Season Greetings
Special presidential menus
Although we positioned each menu in it a different way, there are some aspects that we made sure remained consistent across both. Accessibility through the 3 languages: Arabic, French and English was essential. For all menus, we created a QR code that would direct passengers to a “manage your booking” page on the MEA website. Most importantly, there was a dialog happening between both, Cedar and Economy menu; what is showcased in the collectible design of Cedar is featured in the Economy menu, with extra information about the rationale behind it. Finally, on an environmental level, as those menus are distributed to thousands of passengers on a daily basis, we made sure to use wood free papers, FSC certified.