Like most foreigners, she’s unsure about the traditions and culture of the country she’s visiting. She hesitates a bit before she accepts the gift, a personalised handkerchief, by the beatific elderly lady, she seems to share a special bond with. Even though she’s arrived here just a few minutes ago, she’s been included in the family ceremonies and showered with the kind of love and pampering, only a family can. She’s miles away from home, and yet she’s more home than she could imagine.
This would sound like the story of a backpacker in India taken in and welcomed by kind strangers. Except this is the story of 23 year old Helena Flynn, a flight stewardess with British Airways and captured beautifully in a latest video ad series by the airline. Flynn’s kind disposition and helpful nature in a Hyderabad-bound flight almost pays back, Karma-like, by a generous Indian grandmother who invites her to her home in Hyderabad and makes her feel like a part of the family.
The incident has had a deep impact on Helena and she’s loved flying to India ever since. And this is the premise of #FuelledBylove, the latest ad campaign by British Airways, that highlights true stories as told by their crew members on India bound flights, and brings out the various little things about India and its culture that make it a special experience for the crew.
British Airways began operations in India in 1924, a time when India was still a colony under British rule. Since then, England and India have always had a complicated relationship thanks to the burdens of history, but British Airways may have just softened all ties with India in this campaign that seeks to ‘love India back’. Created by the new -age agency SapientNitro, the ads, that have been vastly spoken about and shared on social media, are created on the lines of movie shorts, and evoke emotions and highlight the bond that people share, that transcends all borders.
These stories, other than tugging at one’s heartstrings, effortlessly tie in many of British Airways’ offerings such as airline crew that goes the extra mile, in-flight entertainment, vegetarian food – features that are important to the Indian traveler. The ads also go on to form a part of an upcoming style of brand communication where its employees, partners and even customers become the story tellers, breaking away from the template version of actors and models endorsing the product. This approach helps the audience connect with the brand and relate with its core messaging and creates a deep emotional bond with the brand, a feat rare to achieve with the simplistic and in your-face “Buy now” ads.
Google India had tried a similar approach when their stories of how a couple of friends from India and Pakistan reconnect and reunite with the help of Google suit of products. Similarly, Flipkart too had sought to recognize the important but behind the scenes work of their facilities team in an emotionally-moving video ad. British Airways has too, with this series, managed to pull at something the Indians value immensely – family values, culture and emotions.