WATCH: 1983 British Airways Ad that Aired in New York Complete with “Special Effects”
We’re going to start posting an old ad from the airline industry every Friday. This Friday, we’re putting out an ad from 1983 that aired in New York. Believe it or not, the ad was considered high-tech for its time and changed advertising with its special effects.
Campaign described the ad’s impact on advertising, the British Airways, with the following:
It used the latest special effects to visualise the whole island of Manhattan landing here in the UK. It hovers overhead in true Close Encounters style. British blokes stand outside the chippy gawping skywards. Housewives on doorsteps look up in dread, clutching empty milk bottles to their hearts.
It feels creepy now. But it worked, and BA became the world’s favourite airline. Nowadays, a hideous lump of Manhattan real estate still flies over here. But he uses Air Force One and has to land in Stansted.
The ad was based off “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” At the time the ad aired, British Airways was not doing well financially. Times were tough with British Airways having a poor reputation and losing $300 million British Pounds a year. But as it turned out, British Airways realized the importance of the New York market. Hence, the ad aired to capture that market and build up the airline’s reputation.