British Air dreaming around the world

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Individual service stressed in pair of ads for business, leisure travelers

Breaking with the past, British Airways and M&C Saatchi have split the airline's global branding message into two separate commercials for business and leisure travelers, with the former making its debut simultaneously in 133 countries.

"We're repositioning British Airways as a global airline with a new, warmer, more individual service style," said Ford Ennals, the airline's director of marketing.

A year after acrimoniously departing Saatchi & Saatchi Co., Maurice Saatchi personally unveiled in London last week the $150 million two-year global campaign due to hit airwaves Jan. 7.

For a new agency working in an untested international cooperation agreement for media and support services with Publicis Communications and its Optimedia media buying partner, the ambitious simultaneous airing of the 90-second "Business Dreams" spot was a media buying feat and logistical nightmare.

The new campaign, described by Maurice Saatchi as "a journey into passengers' minds," also offers insight into how he won a global account away from Saatchi & Saatchi last spring almost before opening for business.

"We didn't present creative work [at the pitch], but it was an entire strategy and the emphasis on individuals was a key part," Mr. Saatchi said. "And the split of emphasis between business and leisure was very important."

British Airways is scrapping its last global TV spot--done in part by many members of M&C Saatchi's staff before they left Saatchi & Saatchi--after only a year.


In the next phase of the most integrated ad campaign British Airways has ever done, M&C Saatchi print ads breaking Jan. 23 will highlight new first- and business-class features, from comfy seats to flexible meal service.

Later this year, a similar, leisure travelers' version of "Dreams" breaks in the next global spot.

In addition to TV, theater, print and outdoor ads, British Airways will use direct mail and a World Wide Web site.

Copyright January 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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