British Airways India: Go further to get closer


This example of branded content was highlighted in my interview with Ogilvy Group UK’s Vice Chairman Rory Sutherland last year. I thought I’d share it as part of this report because of the point Rory makes in the interview about there being some problems that can be solved only by long-form communication. He cited QVC, the televised home shopping network, as an unfashionable example of how a fortune has been made out of this discovery, i.e. there are things that you can sell in 20 minutes that you could never sell in 30 seconds.

For Rory, the problem that advertising is trying to solve may not be simply to increase sales, or even increase saleability, but to reduce unsaleability:

To overcome those hurdles to purchase which are preventing people from confidently buying something whose ownership would ultimately justify the cost.

And, as with QVC, he thinks that sometimes this requires more than a six-word headline or a 30-second spiel.

Take the recent British Airways [BA] India ‘Go further to get closer’ film. You can’t achieve that in 30 seconds – and it was doubly effective for me because I watched it on a BA flight immediately before the film ‘The Lunchbox’.

What I think Rory is getting at here may lie at the heart of what branded content is about and how it differs from advertising, and I think Mediacom Beyond Advertising Global Head James Morris articulated this well in the panel discussion I helped put together for Cristal Festival in France Last month:

Branded Content is about creating emotional engagement, and although advertising is still an important medium for many of the brands Mediacom work with he thinks it’s more difficult to emotionally engage consumers when you are working with the usual formats like 30 second spots and print ads.

‘Go Further to Get Closer’ was short by the renowned Indian wedding video maker Vishal Punjabi, and emotionally engages the growing middle class market of travellers by addressing the common problem in India of couples never getting time to themselves. This is part of the trend highlight by my Tenthwave colleague Eric Schwamberger in the Expert Predictions section of volume II of the Best of Branded Content Marketing:

Brands will stop disrupting what people are interested in and try to become what people are interested in, shifting marketing value from brand impressions and message frequency to brand engagement and experiences.

The British Airways India campaign was featured in the Best of Branded Content Marketing in Travel Report last year that was crowdsourced from suggestion by participants of the BOBCM LinkedIn Group.

If you’d also like to share an example then please tweet me via @juzzie using the #BOBCM hashtag or get in touch through the contact page.