British Airways Launches First Ad Campaign Around Sponsorship of 2012 Olympics in London


May 5, 2011

British Airways is launching their new advertisement campaign as a primary sponsor for the 2012 Olympics in London, but you won't be seeing it on television.

The official airline of the 2012 Olympics will not allocate one dime of their £40 million ($65.6 million) advertising budget toward television ads. Instead, they are using national print media, and online advertising, the Guardian reports.

The campaign has another interesting twist, as the first advertising segment will feature notorious English chef Heston Blumenthal, actor Richard E. Grant, and artist Tracey Emin encouraging aspiring chefs, actors and artists to enter a competition to work with one of the three "celebrity mentors."

The contestants will compete for the opportunity to design an Olympic menu to be used during British Airway flights, write a script for a short film that will be shown on BA flights and in the Olympic ceremony, or create a piece of artwork for the "celebration aircraft."

The second push of the campaign, which will launch at the end of May, will highlight British Airways-sponsored athletes who are aspiring to join the Great Britain Olympic team.

"We decided to use press and online to sustain the campaign for a long period of time," British Airways head of brands, Abigail Comber said. "We will support it with YouTube and virals. We have got the budget [for TV advertising]; it is not about that. It is about targeting the right place at the right time and there wasn't the flexibility with TV."

The 2012 London Olympics campaign is British Airways' largest sponsorship campaign in the company's history.

"This campaign is standout in terms of its longevity, most campaigns are a lot more tactical, selling products over just a two- or three-month period," Comber said. "This is our largest-ever sustained campaign stretching over 12 months."

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