British Airways to Expand Campaign

British Airways is looking to continue the success of its acclaimed “page-tilt” format by bringing the effort to a number of new sites in connection with the airlines’ sponsorship of the Wimbledon tennis tournament beginning later this month.

The “page-tilt,” an eyeblaster rich media ad that launched last year on the New York Times’ NYTimes.com for BA’s “Fly Flat. Fly Free.” direct-response campaign, highlights the fact that the airlines’ seats fold down completely horizontally, initially showing the page tilted 90 degrees on its side. The interactive ads, developed by the airlines’ online agency, Agency.com-owned i-traffic, drew on British Airways’ earlier offline work by Cordiant’s M&C Saatchi, which showed travelers waking, slightly confused, to a world turned 90 degrees on its side (after forgetting, obviously, that they had fallen asleep in BA’s new seat).

Now, the three-week, more broadly focused “Elevate Your Game. Fly Flat.” campaign, which nearly doubles the $100,000 spent previously, will see the unit rolled out in greater numbers.

In addition to sections of NYTimes.com, the ad now will run on CBS Sportsline and Yahoo’s Sports and Business & Finance areas. During the course of the Wimbledon Championship, the company expects to deliver about 15 million impressions.

The deals, which see the page-tilt representing a greater piece of BA’s media spending, are chiefly arranged as sponsorships, allowing British Airways to own content surrounding Wimbledon on a number of popular sites, said Matt Cronin, account director at New York-based i-traffic.

Aside from a wider audience, the units also now will be working in a brand-building capacity. That’s after British Airways and i-traffic noted that the format made a significant impression when it first debuted. For one thing, the format resulted in the increase of purchase intent to a figure that Amy O’Kane, BA’s manager of marketing services for North America, said was four times greater than the typical online travel campaign, based on analysis from researcher Dynamic Logic.

O’Kane also said the campaign resulted in an overall increase in awareness of 242 percent, with the page-tilt ad unit alone increasing awareness of the flat-bed offering by 450 percent.

The unit’s performance is even more impressive considering that it was frequency capped at one ad per user over the lifetime of the campaign. (Once more, though, the main creative unit will be supported with smaller units, such as banners, pop-ups and skyscrapers.)

“It proved to us that to the right audience, this can really make a difference in people’s awareness of British Airways,” O’Kane said. “We were looking for a way to use it again, but not to do the same thing. Wimbledon is a great sponsorship for us, linking up with a British tradition, and to use it with the initial ‘Fly Flat’ campaign to promote the sponsorship is a real win on all fronts for us.”

“What’s really reassuring for marketers is you have the brand study from the original campaign, so you’re not going into it blind, and our expectations are that it will do equally well this time,” she added.

Accordingly, the new “Elevate Your Game.” effort is now impression-based, rather than being priced based on performance, a model that comprised about almost all spending in the previous campaign, focused as it had been on driving signups into BA’s business frequent flier club.

“In the last campaign for ‘Fly Flat. Fly Free.,’ the page-tilt was used in a way to boost direct response of the campaign, to drive home the performance-based media,” Cronin said. “We saw it did so well, we’re using it for awareness only now.”

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