Luisa Fernandez of British Airways: National pride fuels our longstanding support for the Games

Sunday, 04 March 2012
Luisa Fernandez-_002In six months time we will be hosting the greatest Games on Earth in the most exciting city on Earth. It has been a long but exciting journey and myself, along with many colleagues, at British Airways have been working on this over the past four years.

We have been involved from the very start. Way back in 2005, we helped deliver the London 2012 Games bid with Seb Coe. Since then we have continued to support the Games and British talent, by flying our athletes around the world to train and compete. In 2008 Team GB and ParalympicsGB returned home from the Beijing 2008 Games with us on a gold nose aircraft called Pride!

At the airline, we have a long history of supporting major sporting and cultural events, so it was a natural decision to ensure this continued for the first Olympic Games on home soil in over 50 years. This is the first time that British Airways has been an official Games sponsor; and as a proud British brand it's an opportunity for us to celebrate what's great about London and our country. London 2012 is going to be the biggest sporting and cultural event of our lifetime.

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One of our objectives for sponsoring the Games is to have a significant positive impact on how British Airways is perceived by consumers in terms of preference for the airline. We want to make sure we receive a higher consideration among consumers when they are planning to travel.

We want to re-inforce brand loyalty, which we hope to do by showing our integral role in the Games. For us, like many sponsors, satisfaction comes not just from achieving our brand objectives, but from knowing we are playing an essential part in staging an event that will touch billions of people across the world.

Among the activation activities that we have planned around our sponsorship is the BA Great Britons programme, which uses the inspiration of the Games to provide life changing opportunities. The activity focuses on a number of different fields which are not only important to British Airways, but to consumers as part of their flying experience. Under celebrity judges Richard E Grant (pictured below, right), Heston Blumenthal (pictured below, left) and Tracey Emin (pictured below, centre), individuals were invited to apply for one of three opportunities: drafting a short film script which will be produced and shown on board flights; a London 2012 Games inspired menu to be served during flights; and an artwork livery that will be painted on a number of celebratory fleet. Scriptwriter Prasanna Puwanarajah, chef Simon Hulstone and designer Pascal Anson have been working on their projects with Grant, Heston and Emin.

We want to re-inforce brand loyalty, which we hope to do by showing our integral role in the Games. For us, like many sponsors, satisfaction comes not just from achieving our brand objectives but from knowing we are playing an essential part in staging an event that will touch billions of people across the world.

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Building on our longstanding support of the British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association, we have also developed additional tailored partnerships with national governing bodies and individual athletes who have ongoing specific air travel requirements in the run up to and beyond London 2012. Each partnership is then brought to life via highly impactful advertising, PR, digital and social media and live events; timed to coincide with key sporting moments.

Although this is a "home" Games we want to remind the wider public of the incredible journeys, both physical and emotional, that our athletes go on to make it to London 2012.  The sacrifices they have to make and the hours they put in is something we wanted to celebrate. Our natural position is to talk about how we can help them in our own way, not just by flying them around the world to train and compete, but also in many more individual ways, specific to their individual needs.

A number of other promotions will follow between now and July and many other initiatives are soon to be unveiled. By putting national pride at the heart of a creatively impactful campaign we can all feel part of the excitement.

And, of course, in the run up to the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, we will be flying in a number of the British individual sport teams from their training camps as well as members of the International Olympic Committee, guests and families.

All in all, there is something very special about knowing that our support plays a part in enabling the show to go on.

Luisa Fernandez is British Airway's sponsorship manager for the London 2012 Games. British Airways are the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Click here for more information. 
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