British Airways Campaign Teaches London Slang

British Airways has launched a campaign with Web, wireless and outdoor components that aims to teach U.S. travelers some London slang. The effort, jointly created by Agency.com and M&C Saatchi, fits with the airline’s “Go with those who know” tagline.

A series of out-of-home and online ads display common British words, such as “peckish” and “snog,” along with a definition. The ad copy on the outdoor placements give passersby to a word-specific URL where they can use the word in their own sentence and send it to a friend via email or text message. In the online ads, the email and SMS capabilities are built into the execution.

“We sat down and wanted to figure out the right way to take a functional idea and make it span both online and offline — to get people not only [seeing] the ad, but experiencing it,” said Tom Ajello, VP of creative at Agency.com.

The online campaign will run through June with placements on some 30 sites, including NYTimes.com, Yahoo Travel, Slate, NYMetro.com, Salon, Epicurious, Vanity Fair, Wine Spectator, and BBC America.

The New York-focused outdoor units appear on phone kiosks, highway billboards, post cards, bar coasters, menu boards, and outdoor café umbrellas, among other placements. The copy tends to contextually match the placement.

“QUEUE,” says one ad on a bus shelter, “in London is a line. As in, ‘Please form a queue to board the bus.'” In a smaller typeface, the ad says, “go to ba.com/queue.”

Once on the BA site, visitors can view definitions of other words and an “Insider’s guide to London” with tips on music venues, nightclubs, eateries, shopping and kids’ activities.

Approximately sixty such words and definitions will eventually find their way into the campaign. In the online executions, every day will bring a different word. British Airways said the campaign represents its “largest ever” outdoor advertising effort in the U.S. and its first use of a viral mobile element here.

“All over the Web, people can learn about the word and use it in a new and different way,” said Ajello. “They can either write their own use of the word, or send the one included in the ad.”

BA is a longtime Agency.com client. The agency’s itraffic subsidiary produced the acclaimed “Fly Flat. Fly Free.” campaign for British Airways. Itraffic has since been merged into Agency.com.

Spend on the campaign wasn’t disclosed.

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