This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of British Airways and its predecessor airlines, Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA. You can browse the full series of 100 stories in numerical order, by theme or by decade.
Airlines commonly advertise promotional offers with enticing images of the destinations on offer and the associated prices in a large typeface.
This BA advert from 1994 doesn’t do that. Instead, the viewer is presented with a near post-apocalyptic vision. A man wakes up to find an empty home, no TV or radio services working, no rail services operating and empty streets as the entire city of London is deserted.
On first view, it is only at the end of the advert does the viewer have any clue as to what it is for (if you watch it back you’ll hear the sound of an aircraft taking off at around 11 seconds in).
To present the viewer with such an uncertain vision was a brave way of conveying the promotion that could otherwise have been done in a very ordinary and unremarkable way.
As well as a creative success, the campaign was considered a commercial success with an immediate increase in bookings as well as raising long term brand awareness.