Snehojit Khan

British Airways: "Loving India Back Since 1924"

British Airways' latest long-format digital film is about the bond that develops between an elderly passenger and a young flight attendant. The campaign is titled 'Fuelled By Love'. A look at the effort.

Indians love emotions. The mushier, the better. Working on these lines, airline brand British Airways, which is no stranger to emotion-laden campaigns, has released its new campaign titled Fuelled by Love.

The campaign showcases a real-life experience of a British Airways' cabin crew who garners a once-in-a-lifetime experience in India during her first flight to India. The film revolves around the subject that while service is driven by purpose and efficiency, true care is only fuelled by love.

British Airways: "Loving India Back Since 1924"
The film created by SapientNitro, follows the story of a UK-based cabin crew member who is flying to India for the first time. On her maiden trip to India, she meets a passenger on board with whom she develops a special bond. She later visits the passenger in India and is amazed by the hospitality she receives there, thus creating beautiful memories for her.
British Airways: "Loving India Back Since 1924"
With the campaign, the airline company announced a special three-day offer for its customers from India to London with all-inclusive fares starting from just INR 53,542 and INR 1,45,517 in world traveller (economy class) and club world (business class) respectively. The offer is valid for a sale period between February 2 and February 4, and for outbound travel period until June 30.
British Airways: "Loving India Back Since 1924"
The film and its communication works from different angles. For instance, it unravels India to a western audience and corrects a lot of perceptions, such as safety of women travellers in the country, and shows the cultural differences, and the hospitality extended by Indians towards foreigners.
British Airways: "Loving India Back Since 1924"
Directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, director of the recent Hindi film Masaan, the video went live on British Airways' official website on February 2, 2016. It will be leveraged on the company's social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+, and will be run alongside print, digital, outdoor and social media campaigns in three phases commencing from February 2, until the end of the month. The amplification on social media will involve real-life, British Airways' crew stories through short videos and photo essays.
British Airways: "Loving India Back Since 1924"
Commenting on the campaign, Moran Birger, regional commercial manager, South Asia, British Airways, says, "India is British Airways' second largest market outside the UK and after the US. We are proud of our rich heritage of over 90 years in India and our deep understanding of this wonderful country. Through this film and the brand campaign, we want to show the actual experiences of our cabin crew members serving customers on our India routes. Many of them have shared stories of how care and thought that goes into every part of their journey have helped them connect with our customers and provide a more personal service."

This is not the first time the company has taken this particular route of emotional connect for its advertisements. In the past, similar campaigns dwelling on this particular concept such as A Ticket to Visit Mum, Go Further To Get Closer, and The Welcome of Home were launched by British Airways.

To improve its customer experience, the company has invested more than £5 billion in its products and services. Customers have received services in the form of new aircrafts, new world traveller economy and world traveller plus premium economy cabins, a revamped First cabin, and better lounges around British Airways' network.

Funds have also been allocated to improve catering and new technologies to make the travel experience more comfortable for customers on the ground and in the air.

Currently, British Airways' network connects more than 200 cities in 75 countries. In India, it currently operates 49 flights a week from Heathrow to New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

And, From October 25, 2015, Delhi customers have been the first ones globally to experience the brand new Boeing 787-9 and the new First cabin.

Simple, yet brilliant

Kartik Iyer, CEO, Happy Creative Services, feels that the campaign is simple, yet brilliant. "It shows the coming together of two cultures. It is a nice mix of simple acts of goodness, cultural nuances and subtle display of emotions, which made me view the entire six minute-long film. In a world full of emotional ads, this one stands out for its simplicity in a world of overwhelming clutter and noise. The casting of the grand-mother is fantastic. The director's touches are charming," he says.

British Airways: "Loving India Back Since 1924"
British Airways: "Loving India Back Since 1924"
Iyer feels that although the story is not new, the execution makes it amazing, and people will like the film and remember it. "It brings back the connection of two countries through an airline in an era when it's all about budget or luxury. Not to mention a free stopover," he says.

"On another note, one cannot evaluate a piece of creative on one word like 'emotion' or 'celebrity' or 'humour'. It is the sum total of all the parts in the right measures that creates magic. And, one can only say if that magic was felt in the end. In that lies its uniqueness," he further adds.

According to Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer, J Walter Thompson India, the video is good, but not great. He says that a comment by Raj Karmakar right below the video on youTube was what he liked better than the video itself. "'I am gonna sue British Airways for making me cry,' says the comment. But, the good thing about this ad is it does not seem fake. Strangely, it seems and sounds like the true story that has inspired it, and will appeal to every Indian who misses his/her grandmother's cooking," says Kumar.

He feels the realism and simple story-telling makes the execution believable and will help build empathy. "In the recent spate of long-format content aiming to capture the online audience, this one is just another story that's striking the emotional chord and is well told. However, I am missing the mind blowing, big flight path-breaking idea here for British Airways or is that just me?" he asks.

Commenting on the length of the video, Kumar says, "This is not old school advertising, but branded content. And, that's what the world of communication is moving towards. Advertising has become only a portion of the brand's content that is put out into the world to reach out to different audiences with content that specifically resides in their mobile, social and digital eco systems. So, there is nothing called length if the content is engaging and gripping enough."

But, Kumar agrees that if you feel its long, then somewhere along the way the content has started boring you and the danger of audiences dropping off before watching the full story looms large.

Talking about the target audience, Kumar says, "I'm sure this is the first in a series of films, and hopefully, this issue of segmented communication to a specific audience will be sorted. The potential does exist for many stories to be told in the travel companion, travelogue, and bank of travel stories kind of space.

Prathap Suthan, managing partner and chief creative officer, Bang in the Middle, says that although the film is lengthy, the content makes up for the length. He says, "Perhaps, it could have been trimmed a bit. But, length really isn't a problem, when the content holds. In this case, the syrupy story keeps your mind occupied. Fat books work. Long films work. Car races work. Test cricket works."

British Airways: "Loving India Back Since 1924"
British Airways: "Loving India Back Since 1924"
Commenting on the concept and execution, Suthan says, "It's a differentiated perspective. And, it gets under the skin of the emotionally plump Indian mindset. Usually films that come out from airlines are almost by default shot and delivered from the eyes of the passenger. But, this film is from the crew's point of view and that changes the regular narrative. It is a soft, fuzzy, warm India-laden film that gets people hooked."

Suthan considers the film to be good in terms of craft, casting, detailing, and other dimensions. And, a story well-told. "More importantly, it showcases the airline as a far friendlier brand towards Indians in the context of the cold treatment that we often get to read about," he adds.

Sonal Narain, chief strategy officer, Cheil India, feels the ad is beautifully executed, with great casting and acting. She likes it more than the previous ones, for its human and intimate touch. She says, "While emotional connect is a similar space, this idea feels a lot more intimate and maybe real because it's given the brand a human face as the air hostess. The idea and story of getting to know a place through connecting with its people is a lot more nuanced, modest and believable than the previous version, which was a bit 'British Airways helps Indians do 'Indian things' in its tone."

Commenting on the fate of the campaign, Narain feels, "It has got all the ingredients for being a success, but it will depend on whether the product can live up to the promise. In general, Indians are not treated as well by many other airlines."

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