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Commentary: Pops pulls off a fabulous storyline for British Airways

The touching campaign, led by SapientNitro’s KV Sridhar ‘Pops’ and filmed by director Neeraj Ghaywan, is based on a real-life story of how a BA crew member falls in love with India

Kalyan Kar | Delhi | February 4, 2016

KK-150For a better part of my working day, daily, I scan half a dozen ad films. That’s part of my job. Great ads are woven around a storyline – always. I don’t review any campaign, that is for my team to handle. But I am breaking a rule today.

The best ones touch a chord somewhere in you. Yesterday afternoon was one such day. As I watched the new British Airways commercial, I am not embarrassed to admit my eyes turned moist. It was not just an ad – it was a deeply relatable human story of relationships.

I did not hesitate to call up my friend “Pops”. The moment he said, “Hello Kalyan”, I shot back, “Pops, damn you, you made me cry.”

Pops latched on without a blink – he did not even ask why I said so. “You are not the first one to call me to say this! But the credit really should go to director Neeraj who did such a great job.”

Pops added, “Nothing inspires you more than a real-life story. The story of Anandi and Helena is a true British Airways cabin crew story. It explores the bonding between a caring crew member and a sensitive passenger."

To me this is what advertising is all about – a great story told beautifully with no unnecessary creative embellishments. This commercial will be long remembered.

British Airways TVC Click on the image to watch the TVC.

Let me get back to the campaign.

Having served the country for close to a century, British Airways is communicating that it continues to love India back. The real-life experiences of British Airways’ cabin crew reveal that while service is driven by purpose and efficiency. It is about true care born out of love.

The latest brand campaign, a short film titled ‘Fuelled by Love’, is inspired by the real-life experience of a British Airways cabin crew member, Helena. The film follows the story of the young UK-based cabin crew member who is flying to India for the first time. On her maiden trip to India, she meets an elderly Indian female passenger, Anandi, from Hyderabad, on board, with whom she develops a special bond, creating beautiful memories which resonate with her on every one of her future flights.

Anandi is seen at one point lovingly adjusting the hairpin on the crew member’s head and giving her a motherly pat on the head. Touched, Helena keeps a close watch on her so that she is comfortable. The bond grows during the flight.

As Anandi leaves the aircraft, she insists asks Helena drop into her house. At first she is reluctant. But Helena does make the trip to Anandi’s house. Watch the film to see how it ends.

The film has been created by SapientNitro and directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, the critically acclaimed director of the Hindi film, Masaan.

KV Sridhar KV Sridhar

Pops, or KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer India, SapientNitro, said, “The British Airways family has forged strong lifelong relationships with Indians since 1924. With the engaging ‘Fuelled by Love’ campaignwe intend to highlight British Airways at the centre of all the human stories that it has enabled. We’re confident that this new age story will strike a chord with travellers across all age groups and inspire the BA family to celebrate their unique India experiences.”

Moran Birger, British Airways' Regional Commercial Manager, South Asia, said, “India is British Airways’ second largest market outside the UK and after the US. We are proud of our rich heritage of over 90 years in India and deep understanding of this wonderful country. Through this film and the brand campaign, we want to show the actual experiences of our cabin crew members serving customers on our India routes. Many of them have shared stories of how care and thought that goes into every part of their journey have helped them connect with our customers and provide a more personal service.”

The film is being promoted on British Airways’ social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. It is complemented by print, digital, outdoor and social media campaigns in three phases commencing February 2 until the end of the month. The amplification on social media will involve real-life, compelling crew stories through short videos and photo essays.

To celebrate the new brand campaign launch, British Airways has announced a three-day offer for its customers from India to London with all-inclusive fares starting from just Rs 53,542 and Rs 145,517 in World Traveller (economy) and Club World (business), respectively. The offer is valid for sale period February 2, 2016 to February 4, 2016 and for outbound travel period until June 30, 2016.

To take its customer experience to the next level, British Airways has committed to invest more than £5 billion in its products and services. The investment has seen British Airways’ customers benefiting from new aircraft, new World Traveller economy and World Traveller Plus premium economy cabins, a revamped First cabin and better lounges around British Airways’ network. Funds have also been allocated for improved catering and new technologies to make the travel experience more comfortable and convenient for customers on the ground and in the air.

The TVC:



Agency: SapientNitro India

Chief Creative Officer: KV Sridhar ‘Pops’

Creative Director: Surjo Dutt

Copy Lead: Romit Nair

Art Lead: Sanjeev Balkrishnan

Strategy: Rohitash Shrivastava, Siddharth Mohanty

Brand Planner: Siddharth Mohanty

Client Servicing: Tulika Srivastava, Niket Kumar

Production house: Sikhya Films

Director: Neeraj Ghaywaan

Producer: Guneet Monga, Achin Jain

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