Unique Airline advertising campaigns can captivate audiences, evoke emotions, and leave lasting impressions.
This blog post will explore eight unique airline advertising campaigns that captured the public’s attention and significantly impacted the industry.
These initiatives serve as compelling evidence of the effectiveness of crafting unique marketing strategies within the airline sector, ranging from impactful narratives to continuous innovation.
Without experiencing each of these outstanding airline campaigns firsthand, selecting a definitive favorite would appear to be a really difficult task.
Unique Airline Advertising Campaigns
British Airways – ‘Look Up’ (2013)
In 2013, British Airways (BA) captured the public’s attention with its innovative ‘Look up’ campaign, tapping into the universal fascination of gazing up at the sky and pondering the destinations of distant planes.
Using digital billboards positioned in London, the captivating advertisement featured a young boy who appeared to point towards real planes gracefully passing through the sky.
As the boy gestured upwards, the billboard screen unveiled the aircraft’s flight number and the specific destination to which British Airways’ plane was bound.
During that time, Abigail Comber, the Head of Marketing at British Airways, expressed to The Drum that this advertising campaign marked a groundbreaking moment for the airline and the entire UK advertising industry.
Comber explained that many people have conversations with their friends and family, where they ponder about the destinations of passing planes and dream of extraordinary vacations or warm locales.
ANA – Star Wars Project (Ongoing)
In 2015, All Nippon Airways (NH), a renowned Japanese airline, made a bold and memorable move that impacted the aviation industry.
By teaming up with the beloved Star Wars franchise, ANA embarked on an extraordinary collaboration with a shared objective: to generate excitement and anticipation for the highly awaited movie, ‘The Force Awakens’.
This groundbreaking film marked the beginning of a thrilling new trilogy, which continued with ‘The Last Jedi’ in 2017 and concluded with ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ in 2019.
The partnership between ANA and the Star Wars franchise combined the creative talents of both entities, resulting in a remarkable synergy that ignited the imaginations of fans worldwide, capturing their hearts and minds.
To celebrate the first movie’s release, ANA transformed one of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners into a striking homage to the iconic droid R2-D2, whose debut captivated audiences in the original film, ‘A New Hope.’
The success of this endeavor led to the creation of another aircraft themed around the lovable character BB-8, as well as a Boeing 777 inspired by the endearing yet sometimes exasperating droid C-3PO.
The marketing strategy proved to be an enormous hit, with both the C-3PO and R2-D2 jets continuing to fly proudly in their distinctive liveries today, serving as a testament to their enduring popularity among fans and passengers alike.
Virgin Atlantic – ‘Still Red Hot’ (2009)
If one airline advert has come out with a bang in the last 15 years and ruffled plenty of feathers, then it is undoubtedly Virgin Atlantic’s 2009 campaign to mark its 25th birthday.
The campaign was named ‘Still red hot’, a nod to its iconic brand color and its ‘naughty’ reputation that owner Sir Richard Branson seemed to enjoy promoting.
The advert featured the thumping 80s song ’Relax’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and began with footage of the mock-up version of the British tabloid, The Sun, with the headline, ‘It’s the pits!’.
Set in the 1980s, the advert adopted a grey, bleak coloring, symbolizing the tough economic situation in Britain at the time.
As the footage moves inside London-Gatwick Airport (LGW), passengers are seen eating food and talking on the telephone when several Virgin cabin crew members appear out of the distance.
The vibrant red uniforms burst through the dreary grey atmosphere, exuding vitality, and the entire airport comes to a standstill as the female attendants gracefully pass by, accompanied by a male captain.
During a time when the world was desperately seeking progress after the 2008 financial crash, the advertisement proved to be an immense success. However, it also faced significant criticism for its perceived sexism.
Just how successful was the advert? The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) stated, ” ‘Still Red Hot’ is estimated to have generated 20% of the total revenue throughout the campaign period, resulting in a return on investment of £10.58 for every £1 spent. The television advertising alone yielded a return of £14.64.”
Turkish Airlines – ‘Widen Your World’ (2017)
If you’re seeking a touch of stardom and a voice that commands immense respect for your aviation advertisement, Morgan Freeman is the first person you should reach out to.
In 2017, Turkish Airways (TK) did exactly that when they enlisted Freeman for a global advertising campaign titled “Widen your world.”
Despite having acted for numerous years, Freeman experienced his breakthrough in the late 1980s, solidifying his position as an exceptional actor.
Aside from his remarkable acting prowess, he also gained immense recognition for his deep, calming voice, garring significant acclaim when he portrayed Red in “Shawshank Redemption.”
Therefore, when Turkish Airlines aimed to produce an advertisement that evoked emotions of freedom and adventure within viewers, a single individual immediately came to mind.
The advertisement was almost cinematic, stirring deep emotions, and Morgan Freeman’s narration undoubtedly left some viewers needing tissue to wipe away their tears.
British Airways – Concorde (1996)
In 1996, years before the space adventures of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, British Airways (BA) was the leading company heading to Mars. Well, that is at least what the carrier’s adverts led viewers to believe.
In a famous advertising campaign from the 1990s, when the supersonic Concorde was in its element, BA released an advert with the iconic jet flying to space.
The special effects were a little dodgy by today’s standards, but the advert was incredible for its time.
With an astronaut floating through outer space and a weightless pen floating off from the seat table the whole advert fitted with the brand that the Concorde was something out of this world.
In the end, the advert simply stated that Concorde had flown over 150 million miles, which is about the same as flying to Mars and back.
However, the whole arraignment of the advert felt revolutionary, much like the Concorde itself.
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