British Airways’ New Thanksgiving Marketing Video Is Oddly…Generic

by Chris Dong

British Airways has a history of producing sentimental marketing videos that drive to the heart of what makes travel so amazing — people. Flying goes beyond cramped seats…or private suites. Airlines are connecting people, all around the world.

Airlines and travel companies try to evoke the feeling of traveling to be just as good as the feeling of arriving to your destination. British Airways has done an incredible job of this from a marketing perspective. I’ve been nearly in tears watching some of their well-produced montages capturing reunions, etc.

That’s why when I heard British Airways was back with a video for Thanksgiving, I had high expectations. However, the airline’s latest video (in collaboration with joint venture partner American Airlines) feels…a little watered down.

The Video

For Thanksgiving, British Airways and American brought together a family of adult children from both the west coast of the US and Europe to surprise their parents who live in Chicago.

The family, with all of the children being busy adults, hadn’t been all together for Thanksgiving in years.

During the five-minute-long video, each of the four siblings are flown from their home cities (San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Madrid) to reunite with each other before the grand reveal to their parents.

However, the video doesn’t really mention why this family was selected, and their backstory. There’s a ton of deserving families that would love to be reunited, and this video seemed oddly generic, if that makes any sense.

It was by no means a bad video — it was cute and slightly sentimental, but compared to the previous BA videos like “A Ticket To Mum,” I thought this was pretty lackluster.

At the end of the day, this stunt was primarily to promote the joint venture partnership between the two airlines which they say,

…allows customers to mix and match airlines and book, through one easy transaction, the best options for them to suit their budget and for their convenience. Airlines co-ordinate their timetables to improve schedules for customers.”

In reality, joint ventures usually mean less competition, and higher fares for customers.

My issue with this video, compared to previous British Airways marketing videos, was that this didn’t have an emotional payoff and was instead a practical “hey, we have a joint venture that we say benefits you!” message. That’s just not what I expected.

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2 comments

DaninMCI November 27, 2019 - 1:03 pm

It seems odd that a British company would even take part in Thanksgiving which is an American Holiday. I know they market to customers in North America so I “get it” but still.

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Chris November 27, 2019 - 1:47 pm

If I had to guess, I’d say the fact 3 of them came from LA, London, and Madrid—-and were traveling to Chicago, all oneworld hubs, probably had something to do with it

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