I remember seeing a meme once.
No matter how much of a bad boy you are, when a kid hands you a toy phone, you will answer it.
No matter how cool you are, when a balloon is about to hit the ground, you will dive for it.
No matter how foolish it seems, the meme is true. There are things that don’t leave us all. No matter how old we become or what we have become, some things remain unchanged. British Airways was able to capitalize on this.
Why do we look up at the sky?
We all went through it. We waved goodbye to planes flying above us when we were kids. It doesn’t matter that we don’t even know what kind of plane that is or where it is headed. If it flies over us, we have to wave goodbye. When we grew up a bit, we stopped saying goodbye… out loud. But we still looked up. Eventually, we start riding them or start dreaming of getting in one to take us to some exotic vacations and see the world. Without us knowing it, planes have become become a milestone of our growth. It has come to symbolize different chapters of our growth.
That’s why we always look up. No matter how old we become or what we become, we will look up.
Creating a plane-detecting billboard
British Airways utilized this insight to come up with a “first”. They installed a digital billboard that responds to planes flying over it. According to British airways, the billboard can identify what kind of plane it is, where it is headed and a whole lot of other information. The billboard features a kid that stands up, points to the plane and runs after it. It’s pretty cool, pretty entertaining and pretty familiar to many. That’s probably why they got more than a million hits on YouTube.
The next logical question is why would British Airways do this? A campaign like this won’t help them sell tickets anymore than they already do. This brings us to the conclusion that it is a bad sales campaign. However, it is a great branding campaign. In a single and, relatively, low cost campaign, they were able to deliver several messages.
For one, the use of a kid gives them a warmer image, away from being an elitist or snobbish.
Two, they have proven that they are innovators and that they deserve the prestige attached to their name.
Lastly, they have become familiar, a brand you can relate to even if you are young and has absolutely no means to afford flying in one of their aircrafts.