British Airways continues to tug at the heart-strings; after ad films like 'A Ticket To Visit Mum' and 'Go Further To Get Closer', the airline brand has released an one called 'The Welcome of Home'. This one's targeted at second-generation Indians, living overseas.
"Finding Chitra and telling her story gave us powerful and magical content that no scripted film could have," he asserts, adding that the film is all about understanding the emotions that come with flying home to be with one's family, many miles away.
Victoria Long, marketing manager, the Americas, British Airways, says, about the campaign, "British Airways doesn't just fly people; we connect them with the people that matter most. We understand the value and importance of a warm welcome. It's a wonderful part of Indian culture and we strive to give our customers a little taste of that warm welcome of home from the moment they step on board."
Directed by renowned documentary makers Wilkins and Maguire, the film is being promoted on YouTube and British Airways' official website. It is being supported by online advertising, social activity (including a Twitter contest, #WelcomeOfHome) and a special imitative called 'Exec-Club engagement', targeted specifically at second-generation Indians living in North America.
An official statement from British Airways states that the brand team has specifically tailored its service on this route (North America to India), to include Bollywood films in the entertainment package, personalised service from cabin crew members (including them being dressed in traditional Indian clothes), special Hindu and Muslim meals, and extra baggage allowance for those travelling from the USA and Canada to India, to accommodate all the gifts, a typicality we're all too familiar with.
North America is home to nearly three million Indians, most of whom have large extended families back in India. These expats tend to travel to their motherland annually, for family events, festivals and other special occasions.
As per US census reports, there are 40 million foreign-born Americans; this means 14 per cent of the American population is foreign-born. Of these, five per cent are Indian (1.9 million people). In Canada, there are over 1.5 million people who say they are of 'South Asian ethnicity'. This group comprises 4.8 per cent of the population of Canada. Of these, over a million are Indian.
Creative experts chose adjectives like "heartwarming", "emotional" and "insightful" while talking about this campaign. Some feel the film comes across as a touch too "scripted".
"Communication has to go deep and understand the human psyche," says Dani, "British Airways has understood the importance of returning home, and has found a real purpose, which transcends tangible 'service benefits'."
The story, he however feels, lacks the element of surprise, something the brand managed to insert in its 'A Ticket to Visit Mum' film. The previous ad, Dani opines, scores over the current one, as far as recall value goes. "There needed to be some sense of drama, twist or surprise. That would have made the film a lot less predictable," he says.
For Shobhit Mathur, executive creative director, Hakuhodo Percept, the campaign is touching but lacks authenticity.
"Some moments and reactions in the film don't come across as 'real' at all. The brand's previous 'Go Further to Get Closer' idea, based around Valentine's Day, was much better," he notes. The 'Go Further... ' idea was especially relatable in India, a country where many marriages are of the 'arranged' kind, he reminds us.
Mathur, nevertheless, applauds British Airways for being concerned about real causes and real people, and appreciates the brand's consistent efforts to connect with its consumers through films of this kind.