BAA = Brilliant Airport Advertising

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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Every travel retailer or airport executive affected by the aviation security crisis should sit up and take notice of a new advertising campaign just launched by BAA.

The Moodie Report has been critical on several occasions about the inadequate consumer communication put in place since the 10 August terror alert and the subsequent crackdowns on what can be taken onboard from both pre- and post-security areas.

All too often, well-meaning airport communication, for example, has fallen short simply by omission of key facts. Plenty of landside messaging has outlined the limits on what can be carried through security, without adding the crucial rider that airside duty free purchases can be made as usual. No wonder the poor consumer is confused and penetration rates have fallen.

But the brilliant new BAA campaign leaves no possible room for confusion. Any traveller entering London Heathrow Airport from the London Underground is now confronted by a series of striking light box ads featuring the tagline ‘Fly with everything you buy from the departure lounge’.

That tag line is obvious enough (though for reasons of clarity I would use the term ‘after you clear security’ rather than ‘from the departure lounge’, a term that some consumers may not understand fully).

But what makes the difference is the images. In one ad a map of Europe has been created by hundreds of images of duty free items; the same is done to represent travel to the US with a marvellous ‘duty free’ version of the Statue of Liberty; and there is also a fantastic map of the world (albeit one version has the crucial omission of New Zealand, writes a suitably miffed Antipodean Editor – we’re sure two images of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Bay, appropriately positioned, would have done nicely) generated through the same method.

It’s the sort of thinking of which Andy Warhol or the original creators of the iconic Absolut advertising would be proud.

The Statue of Liberty is particularly good. It’s verging on the subliminal as it involves several views – and the right angle – before it’s completely obvious what the image represents. But I would wager that hundreds of thousands of travellers in coming months will stop and work it out for themselves – and that many of them will enter the airport shopping areas in a very different frame of mind… and buy.

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  • The ads are a good example of ‘good advertising’, simple and to the point, conveying a clear message with underlying reasurance to the consumer. Reference to ‘Departure Lounge’works for me and I say well done to the Agency – obvoiusly created by a consumer. Confidence in buying is what everybody is looking for here and it would seem to answer the call. Whilst on the subject of departures, the pre departures or ‘what you are allowed to take through’is another story altogether and if you hadn’t already ‘Checked In’ you be forgiven for wanting to ‘Check back Out, well at Heathrow T3 anyway. A recent such experience reminded me of an unwanted visit to the bottle bank – now there’s another creative challenge for the BAA I suggest. Once through the maze though departures shopping is a most welcomed sight and that should be good news for all.