Marketing Head Departs Malaysia Airlines

Canadian global marketing head for Malaysian Airlines, Dean Dacko, is to end his three years of service for the company. At the end of August, he will no longer be the senior vice president of marketing. His plans after his departure are still unknown. Dacko leaving comes eight months after the new CEO, German Christophe Mueller, prompted an overhaul of personnel. No one is set to replace Dacko yet.

Even though there is a shake-up, Dacko stated remained firm that there will be no rebranding or name change for the company. This is in spite of the two tragedies, MH17 and MH370, happening in the span of four months. Dacko believed that before the MH370 tragedy, the global brand awareness of Malaysia Airlines was low.It spiked up to 86 percent worldwide after the tragedies. Dacko mentioned that this kind of awareness takes a long time and a lot of money to get to and abandoning this is a marketing mistake.

Yet, contrary to what Dacko stated, it was announced that Malaysian Airlines will be having a brand overhaul. They have given M&C Saatchi Malaysia and brand consultancy Prophet the task of creating a new name, logo and an advertising campaign.


As a response to the MH370 tragedy last March 8, Dacko made a directive removing all the MAS ads globally. Their marketing team restarted advertising with the hashtag #StayStrong after MH17 was shot over Ukraine. This went viral. “People were posting back to us, saying yes, Malaysia Airlines, stay strong, you didn’t deserve this,” Dacko stated.

But the response of the media was not positive. Malaysian Airlines had to withdraw a promotion that used the phrase ‘bucket list’ as a way to get customers back. Dacko mentioned that this promotion was finished and ready to be released even before the tragedies occurred and had to be postponed. He was also certain that the customers didn’t find anything wrong with the bucket list promotion and it was only the media who had issues.

The brand overhaul and Dacko leaving Malaysian Airlines comes a week after MH370 debris was found in the Indian Ocean.


Geninna Ariton

Geninna Ariton

Gennina is a contributor to Branding in Asia.

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