Selling nostalgia

Toning down sentimentality just a little bit, British Airways' latest ad urges you to discover something new 

In an effort to help Indians connect to their foreign products and services, international brands have often resorted to rooting ad campaigns in family, culture and tradition for better appeal. British Airways has been dabbling in this tradition of striking an emotional chord to reach the masses through their tearjerker ads for quite sometime now, their latest ad being hardly an exception.

While the ad is not so squeamishly sentimental, emotion and family does form its groundwork. And it taps on nostalgia along the way. The ad has a man retracing the footsteps of his grandfather quite literally, and following him as he discovers a little bit of London too while he is rediscovering the kind of man his grandfather was and the kind of life he lived in London.

Robert Williams, British Airways’ head of sales - Asia Pacific and Middle East says, “We understand that families play an integral part in the lives of the Indian audience. Through our brand campaigns, we aim to establish an emotional connection with our customers and position British Airways as the catalyst of unforgettable experiences, adventures and of making memories.”

Sidharth Shukla, head, OgilvyOne Worldwide believes that the film connects at a socio-cultural level. “The film is emotional but not overwhelmingly so. It’s more real, more ‘on the ground’. Nostalgia is a very powerful tool and that is what the essence of the film is,” he says.

Duality lies at the heart of the ad: while the man is discovering London, he is simultaneaously rediscovering the city through his grandfather’s eyes. In his exploration of the city, there is an element of contemporariness that is juxtaposed with his grandfather’s own journey. “We also wanted to tell a story that, even though young at heart, would appeal to people of all generations alike," adds Williams. "The idea came from the insight that today’s Indian travellers are more than just tourists, and London as a destination has something to offer to everyone on a holiday in the city.”