BA’s Olympics Ad Campaign Takes Off

Airline starts London 2012 games promotion early

British Airways is getting into the Olympic spirit early. The airline is rolling out an ad campaign today that promotes its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics.

The $64 million sponsorship as the official airline of the 2012 Olympics will be heralded with an unusually long campaign, lasting more than a year. Even more unusual is the campaign’s composition: one part online advertising, one part print advertising, zero parts television advertising.

Those behind the campaign at BA say the decision not to use television ads was a strategic one. The company has historically favored print media for its campaigns, while the versatility of online advertising has opened up new avenues for promotion. Saying television is too inflexible, BA will use viral videos as well as a series of contests to capture the imagination of an online audience.

BA plans to tap into a wide array of benchmark events leading up to the Olympics to sustain momentum. The 2012 Olympic torch relay and the one-year countdown to the start of the London Games will both be targeted.

There is no word yet on how much BA will spend on its Olympic campaign, but the carrier's work sponsoring London Fashion Week and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts indicates its strategy comes from experience in big events advertising.