British Airways on new 3-minute ad: "Flying to London has become cost-effective with strength of rupee against pound"

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | May 05, 2017
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OgilvyOne has created this video.

British Airways, the airline that has been flying to India for more than 90 years, has recently launched its new digital campaign, 'Discover the London You Don't Know'. The three minute film has been conceptualised by OgilveOne Worldwide, New Delhi, produced by Q.E.D. Films and directed by Amit Masurkar.

The film is seen through the eyes of a young man from Chennai who discovers his grandfather's (Sethu Iyer) journal. The viewers are taken on a journey in which he relives his grandfather's time in London, eventually discovering a city he did not know.

'Is the ad based on a true story or is it part of a copywriter's imagination?' asked afaqs! "Over these years," answers Robert Williams, British Airways' head of sales - Asia Pacific and the Middle East, in an email, "we have witnessed countless stories of families reconnecting, friends reuniting, lovers defying distance and people discovering the side to their lives they never thought existed - much like how the young man in our film discovers London and in turn, himself. We are happy to have served as a medium and to have played a small part in all them. This film, though fictional, is a tribute to all those stories."

Robert Williams

He adds, "The campaign positions British Airways as the catalyst of unforgettable experiences... The creative had to connect both rationally and emotionally with the India's younger population. The idea came from the insight that today's Indian travellers are more travellers than tourists, and London as a destination has something to offer to everyone on a holiday in the city."

"This new campaign will also create awareness about the great value fares that British Airways is offering for travellers looking to discover and experience London," he says, adding about the timeliness of the campaign, "We just want to reiterate that flying to London has become even more cost-effective with the strength of the rupee against the pound..."

About the media plan, he says, "In India, most consumers have leap-frogged the desktop or laptop computer and graduated straight to mobile internet with online media consumption being the huge culture shift. British Airways understands that being present of platforms where the end consumer is present is key to ensuring selling success... British Airways has launched a number of promotional and marketing initiatives using digital and social media as the primary platform in the past few years."

Talking about the idea and challenge, Abhishek Gupta, senior creative director, OgilvyOne WW, New Delhi, says, "The idea was to show that no matter how many London stories you have heard, there's always one that you haven't. Because that story is for you to discover. And choosing to fly British Airways is the best culmination to any story about London. Also, there's the fact that Indians have been flying British Airways for generations. The challenge was to create a film that captures both these facets."

British Airways in the past, has released long format digital ads targeted at Indians. We asked our digital expert if the current ad has the same touch and where this ad stands as compared to the previous ones.

Carlton D'Silva

Carlton D'Silva, chief executive officer and chief creative officer, Hungama Digital Services, says, I preferred the 'Fuelled by Love' episode... The premise was much better... This one was a bit staid and I did not enjoy anything about it... Maybe BA needs to change the formula a bit as things are becoming a bit too predictable."

Smart move?

The latest campaign is hinged on a very tangible market reality - rupee value has gone up relative to the pound, post Brexit. But nowhere does the ad mention cheap fares.

D'Silva says, "That would have been tactical and the content would not transcend time. The approach is correct... Invest in good content that is timeless in nature... the key word being good."

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