Global Adventures in Adland – British Airways…

The Core Agency founder Christian Finucane explores why the latest marketing push from the UK's flag carrier is so effective.

EACH month, we go globetrotting around the world in search of the most surprising, stimulating and thought-provoking travel and tourism advertising. We’ll discover a diversity of campaigns using quirky cultures, inarguable insights, or off-beat humour – with all of them having one thing in common – highly effective cut-through creative ideas.

The Brit carrier’s latest OOH campaign is a lesson in simplicity.

One of the joys of travel is experiencing different cultures. We seek out holidays that contrast our everyday routines – unique customs, alternative cuisine and unexpected adventures.

For Aussies, that often means jumping on a plane to an Asian destination or flying further afield to one of Europe’s drawcard countries.

So, growing up in the UK (before immigrating to Australia 30 years ago) it’s always fascinated me to see new travel campaigns from my homeland. I suppose I have a foot in both camps – being an Aussie long enough to have a perspective on Blighty, while still retaining my Pommy cultural roots.

Which brings me to the new British Airways campaign that recently launched in the UK. It’s fantastic for many reasons, including its laser focus on that powerful moment of anticipation when a traveller first sights their destination.

All the posters show a person eagerly looking out of an airplane window. Next to them on the fuselage we see the British Airways logo, cropped to just say ‘Brit’. There are no other logos, subheads or starbursts on the poster. It’s poster advertising at its very best.

The brand experience is amplified because we enjoy imagining what the people are looking at, rather than the obvious route of just showing it. We also complete the British Airways name in our heads. So, the brand stays with us long after it’s viewed.

The creative is bang-on in its cultural representation of ‘Brits’. While they can be quite reserved and self-controlled (a trait not always appreciated by everyone), it does translate very well into advertising. And none more so than this out-of-home creative, where simplicity and restraint make the ideas far punchier.

Another smart thing about the campaign is that it’s (literally) a window into the cultural diversity of the UK and world travel by showing hundreds of people. In fact, the campaign features around 350 different Brits, each peering out of their airplane window. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Great Britain, Europe, Africa, Australia, or Mars – you can literally put yourself in that seat peering out with excitement and anticipation at your destination.

With most OOH sites being digital these days, there’s always the temptation to over-animate everything. But again, the creative agency and client marketing team have shown real restraint by only having the person in the window move. Something that really catches your eye and draws you in.

Quite simply, it’s brilliant brand advertising. Bold and confident through its confidence and simplicity. Not forgetting a hint of classic Brit humour as we enjoy the passengers’ facial expressions.

Which got me thinking, how could our local carriers better leverage domestic culture and traveller truths? Qantas has undoubtably done it famously in the past with its kids choir commercials, but after its recent brand turbulence, its next major campaign needs to connect with the power of this BA work.

Christian Finucane (pictured) is a Founder & Creative Partner of The Core Agency in Sydney. The team has created effective advertising, digital and social campaigns for Destination NSW, Cook Islands, Sydney Airport and Quest Apartment Hotels.

Subscribe To travelBulletin