British Airways ran a flagship TV spot during Euro 2012’s England v Ukraine match on 13 June to promote its Team GB Olympic partnership campaign ‘Home Advantage’.
The patriotic spot, which strikingly shows a BA plane taxiing through London streets and past London landmarks bringing supporters to the Olympic Park, features the The Clash song ‘London Calling’ ends with a call for people to stay in the UK under the strapline “Don’t Fly. Support Team GB and Paralympics GB’.
As with most other recent new BA commercials, the spot was trailed online with teaser cut-downs and pre-launched on the brand’s Facebook page on the morning of the match. More interesting still, in the online version users can input their postcode and watch the aircraft taxi down their own street.
The TVC is supported by outdoor and national newspaper print ads, banner ads and social media involvement on Twitter where it is led by the hashtag #homeadvantage.
A more tangible part of this national pride-themed Home Advantage campaign sees BA hold a Facebook-focused competition to nominate freidns and family living abroad for a chance to win free flights to the UK and Olympic/Paralympic tickets so that the winners can share the Olympic experience with their nearest and dearest.
The campaign sees the airline give away 240 flights (each matched with a Games ticket) from 20 selected international destinations – including former Olympic host cities Beijing, LA, Moscow and Sydney.
The airline, a top tier LOCOG partner as well as a backer of Team GB, says part of the initiative’s objective is to give British athletes home advantage by increasing the numbers of UK fans attending the Games.
In parallel to this consumer ticket draw, British Airways is also giving away 50 free flights to friends and family of Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes – to give them a personal supporting boost at the Games.
‘This is the start of our campaign to get the country behind our athletes and give them an extra boost,’ says Luisa Fernandez, British Airways manager of the “Flying Britain Home” campaign. ‘Every extra clap, cheer and whoop we can offer, could make the difference to how they perform.’
BA London 2012 brand ambassador Denise Lewis, a former Olympic Gold medallist, says: ‘Every athlete is looking for an advantage, something that will raise their game. Home Advantage is very much about that. It’s a feeling that you get, that elevation, that self belief that you are competing with the nation behind you, willing you on.’
Lewis also fronts a documentary style short film looking at the benefits of ‘home advantage’ will also air on the Facebook page.
Another part of the multi-platform Home Advantage media mix was a huge image of British Olympic heptathlete hopeful Jessica Ennis painted under the Heathrow flight path by agency Cake.
The stunt’s multiple objectives include reminding overseas athletes of Team GB’s home advantage, welcoming back the 50,000 expat Britons coming home for the Games. The giant image of Ennis is 53m by 73m (the size of 15 tennis courts) and includes the words “Welcome to our turf”. It also aims to further spark a Twitter buzz via a #homeadvantage hashtag.
‘I’m thrilled to be the first face that people will see arriving into the UK for the London 2012 Games,’ says Ennis herself. ‘I hope it brings excitement to homecoming Brits, and reminds international athletes that we’re ready and prepared! We have the most dedicated fans in the world, who will get behind us every step of the way to give us a home advantage.’
BA, which paid around £40m to be the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has run one of the longest and most multi-faceted sponsor campaigns. It began by backing the original bid and then moved through several stages including its ‘Great Britons’ initiative, to the ‘They Will Fly’ work and its T5 art sculpture project and now this new phase adds further to an already rich mix.
To a greater or lesser extent, each of its partnership roles, which also include the British Olympic Association, British Paralympic Association, UK Athletics, British Swimming, Disability Swimming, Diving, Synchro and Water Polo teams, have their own activation strands.
When the Games themselves start, BA will host ‘Park Live presented by British Airways’ at the Olympic Park for fans to get behind the home team and watch the competition on giant screens and see athletes interviewed on a main stage. This brand-backed fan zone style space within the Olympic Park will accommodate up to 10,000 visitors.
Our only question is, whilst we love The Clash’s ‘London Calling’, is it entirely appropriate considering its apocalyptic lyrics featuring violence, floods, famine, police violence and the “engines stop running”.