This holiday season, British Airways is using technology and digital content to connect with U.S.- and U.K.-based consumers and to inspire travel.
The first initiative, Yourope, launched November 12 and is what British Airways calls a "'choose your own adventure' digital campaign" to inspire U.S.-based leisure travelers with new ideas for travel to popular European destinations like Barcelona, Paris, Rome and Berlin.
The video series uses YouTube annotations to provide travelers with a series of options. For example, viewers must first choose a destination on an airport check-in kiosk. If they choose Rome, they must then decide between old and new. Similar choices exist for classic or curious Paris, posh or punk Berlin and day or night Barcelona. Viewers can also find itineraries and available travel packages to inspire their own trips, British Airways says.
"The idea is that we wanted to bring to life the idea of choice about what to do in Europe in a fun way with content and technology," says John McDonald, vice president of marketing for the Americas. Leisure travelers "may have forgotten how much there is to do in Europe, particularly if they're frequent travelers. [The Yourope campaign features] the duality of cities and how many sides there are."
In the next few days, McDonald says, British Airways will be launching six-second "postcards" through Vine, which he says will feature a snapshot of each city. In addition, consumers will be able to view the videos and create their own versions.
"We're inviting customers who go to Europe this winter and spring to upload their own adventures to extend the campaign," McDonald says.
What's more, British Airways says Pinterest boards will be designed for each European destination, "showcasing the beautiful scenery, incredible landmarks and hidden gems in each city."
The brand has a number of preexisting boards for many cities already and will be updating these boards with new visuals, McDonald says.
British Airways will be using hashtags with the names of the featured cities because "this campaign is all about celebrating those cities and their different sides," McDonald adds.
In addition to Yourope, British Airways has also erected two "plane-spotting" digital billboards in London in its #LookUp campaign.
The billboards feature a child who points to British Airways planes flying overhead and provides information about each flight.
"In much the same way with the theme of technology as a really important tool to engage customers with advertising in ways that you historically couldn't, our #LookUp campaign created custom-built technology to decipher which plane is flying overhead," McDonald says. "We are able to present an image to people looking at the billboard that speaks to where the plane has been or where it's going, as well as how to get offers and deals. We want to bring back magic to flying and that's what that billboard does."
The billboards are slated to remain up until about mid-December, but because of consumer response, British Airways is looking at how to continue to use the technology, McDonald says.
A video about the experience that posted November 19 has about 612,000 views as of November 25.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014