I often criticize ads that don’t give enough prominence to the brand name. I’ve even gone so far as to suggest that their ad agencies perhaps would rather be making movies than “mere commercials.” These ads are often entertaining–some via humor, others via cool music or striking visuals–but they rarely do their intended job, which is to sell.
In this new “advert” from British Airways, you won’t hear the brand name a single time, and half of the logos you see are for prior generations of the company’s name (like “Imperial Airways” and “BOAC”). Yet I think this ad is one of the best ads I’ve seen this year.
So why–if I’m right–does this “advert” succeed despite breaking the rules of brand registration? One reason is the British narrator; it’s clearly an airline ad, so once you hear that elegant British accent, you know it must be a British Airways ad. (Who else could it be?) Another reason is that the combination of the cinematography and the background music is so engrossing that you want to pay close attention–to soak up every detail–and in the process you can’t help but notice the occasional British Airways logo on one of the many eye-catching aircraft featured later in the spot.
Yet another reason for this ad’s impact is that the beautifully written and delivered narration and the exceptional production values scream quality. My subconscious brain can only conclude, “This airline obviously has great planes, great mechanics and great pilots.”
And finally, there’s the tagline: “To fly. To serve.” And this is much more than a tagline; as the narrator informs us, it’s “the same four words stitched into every uniform of every captain who takes their command.” The message: these people love to fly, and they love to take exquisite care of their passengers.
And they clearly love to make great advertising.