British Airways sings the local tune, and sing it does beautifully!

The brand's insight that home-cooked food & family memories are powerful motivators in making the final decision to book a trip, comes out very well through the ad

e4m by Twishy
Published: Aug 5, 2013 8:22 AM  | 5 min read
British Airways sings the local tune, and sing it does beautifully!

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts”. And mother’s love with home-cooked food can allure any child to come back home. Giving an unforgettable surprise to every mother, British Airways has launched a heart-warming commercial titled ‘A ticket visit to mum’ that highlights the true story of a mother and son’s eternal love.

The five-minute ad created by Ogilvy & Mather, New York tries to promote the routes offered by British Airways from North America to India, with special focus on making travelling easier.
The ad tells the story of a mother from India and her son Ratesh, who has moved to New York when he was just 17 years. Ever since childhood, he always liked to eat his mother’s homemade Bhindi. Through the ad, Ratesh’s mom in India talks about how much she misses her son. The airline promises to fly out Ratesh's favourite home cooked meal to New York and her mother is shown preparing the food with love and care. However, the airline gave his mum an unforgettable surprise by sending Ratesh home instead of picking up the food. The ad ends with the family happily enjoying the son’s visit to India.

Elaborating on the campaign, John McDonald, VP Marketing (America), British Airways said, “Our campaign has been released into the market at a time when our target audience in the US is considering booking their travel to India to see friends and family. To that end, we knew that good prices and a compelling schedule were not enough to stand out from the crowd. We had to create a platform that would win the hearts of the community. Insights revealed that home-cooked food and family memories are powerful motivators in making the final decision to book a trip. Creating a real story around those themes was the natural choice.”

“It is important to note that the ‘Visit Mum’ campaign has many layers including special fares from the US to India, as well as product and service enhancements on the flights that demonstrate the brand understands cultural nuances. The documentary layer to the creative execution allowed us to tell an individual mother's story, while also allowing us to relate to every child overseas. We wanted to pay tribute to 'mum' as a critical part of the family unit and show the importance of making time to visit home. Telling a true story was very important in the development of the creative,” he added.

The ad also shows beautiful shots of Mumbai city. McDonald, pointed, “There were both practical and emotional challenges to overcome. Due to the importance of timing on this campaign going into market, we had to film during monsoon season. It was not easy but we were able to capture beautiful footage that brought the story to life. Equally, telling a powerful and very personal story had to be balanced with inserting light British Airways branding. We worked hard to make sure the integrity of the story was not compromised.”

Has the Indian connection helped?
Expert take
Raghu Bhat, Founder-Director, Scarecrow Communications said, “This is unprecedented at many levels. For the first time, an iconic heritage British brand is stepping off its high horse and trying to talk to a non-British audience in a localised tone of voice. While to some this could seem like a case of a brand trying too hard, it could still connect to the audience who are missing home as it is based on a genuine 'pain of separation from family' insight. The execution is unhurried with appropriate pauses, which adds to the impact. The characters seem straight out of life and add to the authenticity. The script seems well-researched and rings true. Overall, it's a definite thumbs up.”

Our take
Motherhood is near to divinity and showcasing the utmost care, love and affection between a mom and her son in an airline ad is a powerful idea. The ad evokes emotions, nostalgia and highlights the pain through a real-life story, which is very engaging.

There is nothing better than promoting the Indian offers through Indian characters and true stories. Most of the airline ads highlight the features of the brand with some generic montages, but this ad explores the human connection in a manner that is never done before. The brand has taken a bold step by adopting a localised tune.

Every child that has stayed away from his/her parents and has craved for the most delicious home-cooked food can relate to the ad. The insight adopted by the brand that home-cooked food and family memories are powerful motivators in making the final decision to book a trip, comes out very well through the ad.

The glimpse of the local flavours of the city has been captured very well through the ad. The use of real-life characters establishes immediate connect with the target audience. Hence, the ad will garner eye-balls and ring the family heartstrings.

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