SBD/May 5, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

British Airways Launches Campaign For London Games Through Print, Online

British Airways opts to forego TV ads in its '12 London Olympics marketing campaign
British Airways today is launching its first ads promoting its US$66M sponsorship of the ’12 London Games with “one of the airline's biggest campaigns," according to Mark Sweney of the GUARDIAN. The campaign "will run for more than a year -- but not on TV.” The effort will run in two distinct parts and use national print media -- traditionally the medium the company has committed the largest amount of ad spend in recent years -- and online advertising.” As part of the first component of the campaign, aspiring chefs and scriptwriters can enter a competition “to design an Olympic menu that will be used on BA planes; or write a script for a short film that will air in-flight as well as be shown in the London 2012 stadium in the runup to the start of the opening ceremony.” The second part of the campaign, which “will kick-off at the end of the month, centres around athletes sponsored by BA who are attempting to make it into the Great Britain Olympic team.” British Airways Head of Brands Abigail Comber: "We decided to use press and online to sustain the campaign for a long period of time. We will support it with YouTube and virals. We have got the budget (for TV advertising) it is not about that. It is about targeting the right place at the right time and there wasn't the flexibility with TV." BA said that this is “its largest sponsorship campaign” (GUARDIAN, 5/5). AD WEEK’s Kari Lipschutz cites sources as saying that the “decision not to use television ads was a strategic one.” British Airways has “historically favored print media for its campaigns, while the versatility of online advertising has opened up new avenues for promotion.” BA indicated that “television is too inflexible,” and that it will use “viral videos as well as a series of dynamic contests to capture the imagination of an online audience” (, 5/5).
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