Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Innovative ad campaign for British Airways - must be a nightmare to produce

There's an interesting press release from British Airways kicking about today talking about it's new campaign to extol the virtues of Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow.

The campaign will capture images from travellers as they pass through the airport together with messages about how well certain elements of the airport are working, from the baggage handling to security to efficiency of flight arrivals.

I guess they feel confident enough to do it now. UPDATE: TimesOnline sticks the knife in.

The most interesting aspect of the campaign is that the artwork for the ads will apparently be produced on the morning of publication/broadcast and therefore adding a real-time element to the proceedings.

Sounds like a tricky prospect from a logistics point of view, but BA is known for being slightly more creative than some of the other airlines.

Below is one of the first ones, which start today. It is for the outdoor part of the campaign and will form the basis of the online creative as well.

BBH is the ad agency behind the campaign, with Agency.com following up with online.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution


Darren Cronian said...

Interesting. Do the people in the photograph know that they’re going to be on the BA ad campaigns? I wondering if they are respecting passengers privacy – asking them for permission - signing privacy disclaimer etc.

Travolution Blogger said...

According to announcement, "these details will be illustrated through photography of real customers during their journey through Terminal 5 captured the day before the ads appear in print".

BA would not risk taking random pictures of customers at T5 and not ask them if they can reproduce the images in an ad campaign.

Richard Hartigan said...

As a statistics graduate, I know that they can be manipulated to paint a certain picture so I am always a bit incredulous when I see them in advertising campaigns.

BA's performance statistics would be made much more valuable if they were shown against something directly comparable. 89% sounds far less attractive if 98% of Virgin flights arrived on time in Terminal 3 on the same day.

The main debate about this campaign revolves around how truthful BA will be in it's declaration of statistics. For example, if on a particular day only 25% of flights arrive on time, would their advert concentrate on a more successful element.

The customers that are featured in images and in testimonials in forthcoming adverts would have provided their consent. More interesting will be the media strength off the 11% minority share whose flights were late.

I believe that the power of user generated content and increasing availability of media channels for disengruntled customers to contact will make it hard for BA to manipulate the truth.

It's a bold approach to tackling a big reputation problem however. BA and BBH should be congratulated for the concept.

Travolution Blogger said...

Richard: i agree entirely. the conceptual element will be what gets people talking. it's a classic off-kilter approach to marketing which some agencies pull off remarkably in the face of the concerns you outlined.

This morning's execution in the Metro newspaper had a picture of a couple of elderly friends heading off to the Edinburgh Tattoo yesterday from T5.

It's strong, good-times stuff, with a quirky angle. The tagline ended with something like "we couldn't count any more as we had to go and produce this ad".