British Airways' Abigail Comber – Red Carpet Profile
Head of British Airways’ Brands and Marketing, Abigail Comber talks us through the making of ‘The Race’ advert which we’ve seen heavily aired on TV recently. Abi is responsible for the strategic development of the airline’s global brand and marketing activities, including advertising, sponsorship, brands, design, digital innovation, community relations and relationship marketing.
A key part of her work is to define what the British Airways brand means to customers and staff around the world and translate that into a motivating and inspiring vision. She is also responsible for defining and managing the corporate community investment programme worldwide and the airline’s reputation in the community.
Abi has been part of British Airways’ marketing department since 2002 holding positions in marketing communications, advertising and sponsorship. She was promoted to her current role in January 2012 and lives in Surrey with her husband. Her hobbies include amateur dramatics and singing.
Here she talks Red Carpet through The Race ad.
Please sketch out the broad sequence of events that took the ad from concept to execution
In October we launched our 'To Fly. To Serve.' campaign with the ad 'Aviators'. The print ads from the campaign focused on the training our staff go through. This was the next phase. We wanted to talk about the team behind our involvement in bringing the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to London in a lighthearted way. 'The Race' seemed the perfect idea. It brings together the excitement and anticipation associated with a sporting event and puts it into an airline context. The little girl as the winner also makes it more fun. The initial mood board is very similar to
the final ad.
What logistical or creative challenges did you encounter en route?
Filming at airports is logistically challenging. Obviously everything is moving and the operation can't stop just so you can get a shot so you have to work around that, move quickly and take advantage of opportunities when
they come up.
Was the theme of BA baggage despatch risky, particularly in view of T5's initial problems?
The baggage is a device which lends itself perfectly to the idea of a 'race' and the end line is intended to demonstrate that we are ready for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics. We are now proud to have the best baggage performance figures of any major European hub airline thanks to Terminal 5. Its state of the art baggage
system and well designed layout enable us to process bags extremely quickly and efficiently.
What influenced the film's edgy jump-cut style; was that the idea of BBH's creative team?
To give a real sense of a race, it needed to be fast-moving with a rapid commentary and frequent changes in angle. It's Neil Gorringe's (the director) treatment. We believe it's worked really well.
How do you feel your vision for the ad was executed by BBH and what's feedback been like?
BBH perfectly delivered our vision for the ad. It's light-hearted and fun while bringing to life our team behind the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The feedback has been great. We've received really nice comments on our Facebook and Google+ pages, customers are tweeting about it and we've had positive anecdotal feedback from customers, friends and family.
Agency: BBH London
Creative directors: Justin Moore, Hamish Pinnell
Creatives: Matt Moreland, Chris Clarke
Director: Neil Gorringe
Production company: Moxie Pictures