Content Highlight of the Week: Welcome Home from BA and QANTAS


This week’s highlight features two airlines with the same idea. Yes, I know, lots of airlines have the same idea - that one about flying people around the world in return for their money seems to have caught on. It’s not that basic and obvious though. Oh, wait a minute… it is.

They’re telling us they fly people around the world. (Actually, it’s about getting people home, and what that means, but not exactly a massive leap is it?).  Fair enough, if it’s what your brand does. But weirder than BA and QANTAS deciding to tell pretty much exactly the same story is the fact that they released their films ON EXACTLY THE SAME DAY.  Such coincidence prompted this thought–provoking piece on brands and customer insights from Colin Jowell.  Of interest to us here is the notion that there’s very little to choose between the approaches of these two brands to the same story and consumer benefit. That is, of course, after you’ve discounted the obvious differences in time length. At one minute, with lots of music and a montage of emotive vignettes, QANTAS has made a nice ad. At over four minutes with a more testimonial, documentary and authentic feel, BA have made a nice piece of content.  But if you swapped the two brands and their stories around, nobody would really notice. And that really shouldn’t be the case. The only ownable thing here for either brand is the end destination for QANTAS: Australia. Naturally no other airline brand could claim to better understand overseas Aussies  and their attitude to a country from which they’ve typically chosen to distance themselves by half a planet. But then BA are claiming a universal understanding of the homeward pull, so ‘destination' doesn’t feel that distinctive as a point of difference for a global player on a route with lots of choice. 

An obvious way of making sure this type of idea clash is less likely to occur is for airlines, and in fact any brand, to define a consistent and distinctive editorial positioning – a uniting theme, opinion or perspective that guides all content output and, crucially, is NOT driven by the business category in which the brand operates.  Because starting with your business proposition, however emotively expressed (‘we know how important home is’, for example) always runs the risk that someone else will say exactly the same thing. At exactly the same time...