Wednesday, 3 September 2014

From Wonder to Wanderlust: How BA’s ‘Magic of Flying’ Took Off

‘Magic of Flying’ was a brilliant campaign created to remind travellers of the many destinations available through British Airways. Could BA leverage new technology and the outdoor surroundings to convey this message?

BA’s agency, OgilvyOne, came up with two digital billboards in London. Every time a BA plane flew over one of the billboards, the LED screen showed a child looking to the sky and pointing in the plane’s direction. Copy identifying the flight’s precise number and destination also asked the viewer to #lookup.

It wasn’t magic: the simple message required a complex execution. From scouting billboards at the right spot near the flight path, to setting up flight data reading antennas, this seamless integration of technology and backdrop took months to plan.

The effects were powerful. Many adults were seen pointing at the billboard in wonder, just like they pointed to planes in the sky when they were young. Feelings of wanderlust were then associated with the BA brand when viewers imagined the wide range of destinations to which the planes were flying.

The results: a Cannes Direct Grand Prix and an increase of more than 75,000 unique BA website visits. The ‘Magic of Flying’ showed the power of combining strong insights, integrating surroundings and using the medium to support the message for a wonderful outdoor campaign.

Gemma Valpiani
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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