BA tugs the heartstrings with Visit Mum film

by The One Centre

14

August, 2013

14th August 2013

British Airways has created an emotional online film as part of a new campaign encouraging people to visit their mothers.

“Visit Mum” has launched to promote the airlines routes and flights between United States and India and the campaign kicks off with a five-minute film portraying the story of a mother Alka in India and her son Ratesh in the US.

Play video

The film’s premise is that BA has agreed to fly Ratesh’s favourite home cooked meal to him in NYC, Alka says as she fights back tears: “I miss him so much because when he left home he was barely 17 years old, and from that day he did not return home. I miss my son.”

In case you didn’t see it coming, there’s a twist and things get emotional. As Ratesh says in the film “Sometimes even when you know what’s going to happen you cannot imagine how it’s going to be”

The film is hosted on the BA site, as well as YouTube, where it has notched up nearly 700,000 views. The recipe made by Alka is also available on the website.

Caroline Titmuss, a British Airways spokesperson said:  “We were looking to recruit a son in New York who had a close relationship with his mom in India. As we looked at the insights of the campaign, the memories of food and home cooking were the most powerful draw.”

The activity is part of British Airways’ India focus on visiting family and relatives, a campaign targeted at expats and people with family members living in the US or India.

The activity is timed to capitalise on the upcoming Indian festive season.

Review

BA has created a tear jerker. It is a very human film, which has a lot of heart and soul.

Sure it’s not the most original idea, you can see the ending coming a mile off and the moody piece while tender and stirring is a little slow.

However, what really differentiates this film is the pure insight it is built around: the bittersweet pain of missing a loved one. This simple insight is what gives this piece so much power.

So many parents can relate to this feeling of missing their child, and so many children can relate to living away from their parent. That mix of guilt and happiness of pursuing a dream and the distance and sacrifices that it requires are familiar feelings to many.

British Airways have captured a lovely story, which reflects the experiences of so many. In doing so they have captured an insight that so many people can recognize: the emotion of living away from a loved one.

The beauty of this film is those feelings don’t have to be because of the distance of India to the US, for the majority of people – sons particularly – they probably don’t call their mum enough, let alone visit, therefore this film connects with a large audience. Clearly for BA they’d prefer to reach people who do have the sort of distance that requires a commercial flight.

However, no matter what the situation, the emotion of the film is palpable. Alka’s genuine heartfelt comments about missing her son will crack event the coldest heart.

For BA this is a big winner. The brand is returning to its heartland of bringing people together and creating genuine emotional connections between people and the brand.

It’s a long time since any airline – let alone BA – really played on the human emotions that come from travel and reuniting.

Airline advertising has become all about freedom, customer experience and service. As a sector airlines have steered clear of emotional stories and focused on the journey, the destination and the adventure.

This has been particularly challenging for BA, which has struggled with a reputation for poor service and outdated planes. The brand was particularly scarred in its UK homeland after the disastrous opening of London Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

It’s no secret the sector is under more pressure than ever with fuel prices, shifting consumer confidence and cut-price airlines continuing to pose serious challenges to the airline industry.

British Airways, like many carriers, have opted to focus on routes and aircrafts for a long time, at the expense of creating genuine connections with people.  Buoyed by the London 2012 Olympics the brand has began to take a different approach.

The brand connected to the surging burst of pride in the UK with its “Don’t Fly” campaign ahead of the games, a move which has helped the brand to experience positive sentiment in the UK.

It’s now looking to achieve the same in other markets and clearly playing the emotional heartstrings is one way to achieve this.

The cynical side of me knows that I’ve been played, BA went hunting for this emotional story to boost its profits. It’s an obvious and a deliberate ploy to pull at our heartstrings and get us to like the brand and book a flight home with BA.

People aren’t stupid, they will see this too. We live in an age of emotional blackmail thanks largely to reality TV, which does a roaring trade in peddaling emotional human stories to engage us with quite ordinary content.

This is of course a bit of a dangerzone for the brand, how audiences respond to this level of emotional manipulation will determine its success. Will people dislike being played so overtly? or will people respond to the stories, the emotion and the very real and recoganisable feeling of missing a loved one? Most importantly will it make people fly British Airways?

Personally I like the story enough to be heartened by it, even if I do feel played – but it still wouldn’t get me to fly BA.

I suspect this is a toe-dipper for BA, to test the response to the ad and to the style, it’s definitely going to be worth watching what the brand does next.

What I like about this film is the message underpinning it. British Airways brings people together. It is a nod to the good old days and its hugely successful 1989 ad, one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable ads.

“Visit Mum” represents a return to the human emotion and soul the brand once embodied. This is reinforced with the line: “It’s never been just about flying”.

It’s a savvy move by BA obviously playing the emotion card, but also the burgeoning Indian market is a lucrative one for BA, hence the increase in flights and marketing focus. Also this film and message can be transferred to other countries and markets all over the world.

It also comes at a time when nostalgia is being embraced by brands the world over. Brand are increasingly obsessed with retro styling and filters while they demonstrate corporate social responsibility and use social media channels to show all the work they do for good.

British Airways has created a piece of storytelling, swimming in nostalgia and good old fashioned family values. It’s a different take on a trend and one that I think will be of great benefit to BA.

Against a backdrop of airlines focused on service, routes and aircraft, “Visit Mum” reminds people about the things that really matter in life: family, home and mum’s cooking.

As always this will get bogged down in the chatter about whether it’s a long ad or a short film, I prefer to enjoy it as a nice piece of branded entertainment that has allowed BA to share a lovely story.

Verdict

A lovely piece of branded entertainment and a bold and risky move for British Airways. 3 stars.

Credits

Article By: The One Centre
Ideas and innovation company
Twitter @onecentregroup

Share

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkedin
Share via Email

Related Stories

News

ONEtalks August Event - The brands disrupting the world

Technology

Uber has a better way to map data – and anyone can use it

Products

Forget ‘stoner’ – MedMen is taking marijuana mainstream

News

Four pillars of brand success – John Ford writes for Startup Daily

Collaborations

Virtual celebrity Lil Miquela partners with Japanese label Ambush

Content

Oakley’s ode to obsession

Advertising

"Will finds a way" with Under Armour

Environments

Kengo Kuma is purifying the air at Milan Design Week

Architecture

Facebook is building Willow Village. Would you live there?

Advertising

Apple recruits Spike Jonze to welcome you home

Products

Dot Watch is disrupting the Braille market

Architecture

Is Hyundai Pavilion the darkest building on earth?

News

The One Centre presents ‘Disruption Needs Construction’ at Sydney Design Festival 2018

Environments

Nissan brings its tech to life with self-driving slippers

Content

Outdoor apparel brand Patagonia to sue the Trump administration

News

The One Centre is hiring creative directors. Here’s our manifesto.

Environments

Tiffany & Co brings Breakfast at Tiffany’s to life with luxury collection

Music

Behind the scenes of OK Go’s ‘Obsession’

Content

The North Face combines daydreams and free skiing stunts in a mesmerising film

Technology

Nike is fighting bots with augmented reality

News

"The only way is up" - John Ford writes for Mumbrella

Architecture

Fashion house Yves Saint Laurent opens a museum in Marrakech

Content

Volkswagen explores the father/son relationship in an emotional film

Technology

Meet Norman, a WebVR tool for doodling in space

News

“Give Dove a break” - John Ford speaks to CMO magazine

Advertising

Guinness saddles up Compton Cowboys for latest Made of More film

Environments

Minimalist Japanese brand Muji expands empire with fresh food market

Technology

Teenage Engineering

Art & Design

A forest where gods live

Products

Louis Vuitton teams with Supreme for ultimate brand collaboration

Technology

Technological Nature

Technology

Playful Palette

Advertising

Nike creates graphic feast for Air Max

Advertising

Volvo returns to safety positioning in masterpiece film for the new XC6O

Products

Ikea to employ Syrian refugees in social sustainability project

Content

Screens of the future

Architecture

Apple’s extravagant new campus brings brand values to life

Products

Transformative Appetite

Entertainment

Dove launches Real Beauty Productions to tell stories of real women

Technology

Rapid Liquid Printing

Special Review

The brands coming out to support the LGBT community

Entertainment

Abstract. The Art of Design

Advertising

Target creates mini-musical spectacular for Christmas

Art & Design

Nissan creates mobile workspace

Advertising

Lincoln Motor Company taps Annie Leibovitz for campaign

Experiences

Braun creates hypnotic installation for London Design Week

Entertainment

BMW Films returns with an explosive short film

Experiences

Adidas Republic of Sports launches in China

Technology

Convert the world around you to Pantone with the new Pantone App

Experiences

Moleskine opens a cafe for creatives

Advertising

We're the Superhumans: Channel 4 returns with film series

Products

Activewear brand Lululemon expands into beer

Experiences

Tiger Beer launches NYC pop-up store to showcase best of Asia

Advertising

P&G rolls out strong film in ongoing Thank You, Mom campaign

Products

Ikea launches brand collaborations

Products

Adidas creates sustainable shoes made from ocean plastics

Content

Google launches 360-degree interactive animated short film

Music

Coca-Cola makes music with W Hotels

Advertising

Save The Children returns with harrowing refugee film

Art & Design

COS creates "show-stopping" installation

Environments

Uniqlo aims for Utopia with flagship store relaunch

Technology

McDonald's transforms Happy Meal toy into VR experience

Architecture

Samsung launches immersive brand experience store

Entertainment

Lo and Behold: Netscout launches branded film at Sundance Film Festival

Art & Design

Burberry teams with Apple to launch dedicated Music channel

Experiences

Apple Watch creates blooming installation at Selfridges

Experiences

Nike targets women with luxury workout experience

Art & Design

HSBC soars in stunning elevator film

Experiences

The Four Seasons Jet is the ultimate brand experience

Experiences

Savage Beauty: Iconic Alexander McQueen honoured in exhibition

Content

Samsung film is a beautiful tribute to the power of technology

Experiences

Converse creates global exhibition to celebrate iconic shoe

Experiences

Leica and Moncler create Monumental exhibition

Advertising

Wind Mobile celebrates human connections

Products

Lego targets architects with new product range

Products

GE revives iconic Moon Boot to celebrate role

Experiences

Nike's ‘Phenomenal’ World Cup experience

Architecture

Louis Vuitton Museum: a new level of branded art

Experiences

GQ to groom men with branded barbershop

Experiences

BMW's iconic Art Cars Project launches global tour

Art & Design

Chipotle turns to literature in new project

Entertainment

Cornetto spreads the love with film series

Music

Stella hits high note with Chalice Symphony

Experiences

NRMA opens Crashed Car Showroom

Content

Intel urges audiences to 'look inside' in film series

Content

Net-A-Porter launches glossy print magazine

Entertainment

The Lego Movie hits cinemas worldwide

Advertising

Guinness creates short film 'The Sapeurs'

Products

Dom Perignon and Jeff Koons create art

Content

Patagonia film celebrates the stories we wear

Experiences

Louis Vuitton's controversial exhibition

Advertising

Chipotle wages war on Big Food

Content

AT&T's brutal new film to stop texting and driving

Content

BA tugs the heartstrings with Visit Mum film

Advertising

Leave the world behind with Volvo

Content

IBM & The World's Smallest Film

Environments

Burberry merges digital and physical worlds

Advertising

Iconic landmark is on song with The Ship Song

Entertainment

Bond's Skyfall is ultimate branded entertainment

Entertainment

Red Bull goes Stratospheric

Experiences

Audi showcases the future in Spheres

Entertainment

AT&T unveils transmedia experience Daybreak

Experiences

Google experiments with art and science

Experiences

GE asks Australians for Two Words

Music

Coca-Cola Moves to the Beat of London

theONEcentre

Strategy + Artistry

Ground Floor,
71 York St
Sydney NSW 2000
T +61 2 8096 9700
hello@theonecentre.com

for updates on The One Centre Group and our publications.

Back to top

theONEcentre

Strategy + Artistry