Monday, 7 August 2023

BA: A quantity of quality


When I worked on the BA account, decades ago, the passenger survey struck me as one of the top reasons why quant surveys got a bad name. How could the categories of business or leisure really sum up the multiplicity of reasons for flying? Even (from memory) the third alternative, which may have been added later - visiting friends and family - didn’t add much. Well, that could cover anything from a wild and exotic party to your granny’s funeral.

I’ve been a bit sniffy about BA advertising in recent years, but since October last year, I’m sniffing no more. The brand launched their new campaign (by Uncommon Creative Studios) in October 2022. It’s based on the brand essence of “A British Original” - which is pretty neat, by the way, as the phrase can be applied to passengers, staff, journeys, innovations and the rest. The idea acknowledges that there are far, far more travel purposes than those described in the two boxes “business” and “leisure”.

This campaign is remarkable in its variety - 512 print, digital and outdoor executions plus numerous second spots. And, simultaneously, its coherence around one strong creative idea. None of the visual old or new cliches associated with airlines. Just great copywriting and clever art direction/use of media. The idea used contextual OOH - buses, tube stations - and also adapted to the weather, to the time of day, to news events. There were no surprises when it won the outdoor Grand Prix at Cannes.


This month sees an expansion of the campaign in OOH, print and social media with some clever contextual jiggery-pokery. From boat sails and jumpers ...

to cheese ...

And finally, BA isn’t the only big old mass-market brand getting it right with its advertising. I’m also a great fan of this cheerful follow-up to “Arches” for McDonalds.

Find your originality - then use it!

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