50 Years of Fame: Brandfame - British Airways

Marketing, September 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

50 Years of Fame: Brandfame - British Airways


The history of British Airways is a mixture of regulatory restrictions, unexpected hazards - such as the recent catering contractors' strike - and the revolution of low-cost travel. Advertising has played a key role in the company's response to these challenges, and its influence was notable even before privatisation in 1987.

The Super Shuttle service at the start of the 80s, backed by the 'One-Up' campaign, proved effective.

Targeting a male ABC1 audience, BA ran a one-month national TV campaign supported by radio, outdoor and press. The pounds 1m advertising injection translated into pounds 6m increased annual revenue.

The advertising peak was still to come. Teaming up with Saatchi & Saatchi in 1983, BA was rebranded as 'The world's favourite airline'.

In the 'Manhattan' ad the eponymous island soars over the Atlantic before touching down in London. The voiceover revealed that the number of passengers BA flew across the Atlantic outnumbered the population of Manhattan.

In 1989 another striking Saatchi execution was released - the 'Global face'. People dressed in red, white and blue and roamed across the desert, through cities and oceans to assemble and form the image of a smiling face. …

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