On why BA should shoot their advertising agency
Those of you who have been compiling a list of “JP Facts” will know that I generally like flying with British Airways. Amongst other things, I enjoy the fact that the “all inclusive” nature of the service reduces the hassle of booking a ticket and flying somewhere. I like the fact that rather than having to take out a small mortgage to be able to afford a “cool refreshing J2O” I can order a G&T ‘on the house.’ I like the fact that I can enjoy said G&T in peace and quiet, without constant adverts for smokeless cigarettes, and the fact that I can expect the plane to land safely without the need for a fanfare to be played.
I also like the fact that despite this, flying with BA doesn’t have to cost more than flying with easyJet or RyanAir. For example, I went to a wedding in Germany last September and because it was Oktoberfest, some of my friends actually paid a lot more to fly with RyanAir without hold baggage, than they would have done to fly with BA.
The problem is that BA seems very good at keeping this a secret. Let’s look at an easyJet advert I found the other day:
£35.99 sounds good enough for you to head to the easyJet website, which is clearly shown in the corner of the advert. However, the reality is that if you did find a flight for £35.99, you’d probably be charged a lot more to come back again. Then you’d decide that you wanted to take some luggage and be fleeced accordingly. Then you’d get to the last page of the booking process and find that it would actually cost you even more money to pay for your flight. But even if you did realise that this was now going to be a comparatively expensive flight, you will have spent a while on the easyJet website and probably can’t be bothered to search for an alternative.
BA could compete by running a series of adverts which clearly advertise BA.com and show some attractive lead-in fares. They could also remind potential passengers at this point, before they’ve been sucked in to easyJet’s website, that you won’t get charged for luggage or for food and drink onboard. They could also point out that even though you get a more spacious reclining seat, which you can choose before you board, the overall cost is probably no more than flying with a “low cost” competitor. Oh, and they could highlight the fact that you are allowed two pieces of hand-baggage which means that you don’t have to risk looking like an idiot.
Instead, however, if you are on the moving walkway at Gatwick Airport you will see a series of adverts featuring Olympic Athletes. And the slogan “they will fly.” And that’s it. All that tells me as a potential customer is that BA are making enough money to fly the Olympic Athletes around. So I shall assume that it would be expensive to fly with them and focus on easyJet’s apparently low fares instead.
Still. It could be worse. Rumour has it that the last advertising agency put up a massive advert at Gatwick saying “low cost flying is cheap.” They may as well have just put up an advert which said “we’d rather you went to RyanAir.com.”