Media: Double Standards - Business-class travellers are alive and spending

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 03 September 2010 12:00AM

British Airways' in-flight magazines and JCDecaux Airport are being buoyed by the rise in passenger numbers flying business class.

JUSTINE DALY - COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, CEDAR PUBLISHING

- Describe in more detail the audience that your product attracts.

Upmarket business and leisure travellers with higher than average household incomes. Average age: 44; 60 per cent male, 40 per cent female. Full-time workers. Early adopters.

- Have you made any innovations to your offer recently?

Lots. We've upgraded the web offerings for both High Life and Business Life. And this is a big breakthrough - we now have targeted advertising on ba.com itself. There will also be mobile advertising on British Airways' app - we're just about to announce that. Targeted boarding pass advertising - that's also new. And, come September, there will be a new TV system across all BA flights that will bring with it lots more opportunities for advertisers. On High Life, we're doing some really inventive partnership work with the tourist boards.

- How encouraged are you that business travellers are coming back to airports in a significant way?

The figures are getting better all the time. In July, BA's premium traffic was up. Seat factors all round are close to last year's peak level. Travel managers are feeling more confident. I see in the latest AirPlus Business Travel Index that European business travel increased 3 per cent in the six months to the end of June, year on year. More encouraging still, the proportion of corporate clients flying in premium cabins was up from 8 per cent in January 2010 to 10 per cent in June. Reports of the death of business-class flying were exaggerated.

- Who are your biggest advertisers and what have been the most interesting campaigns you've run recently?

HSBC, Exxon, Jaguar, Amex, IHG, L'Oreal, Samsung, GE, Skype, IBM. Interesting? Those such as Jaguar and HSBC that have run multimedia campaigns with us, incorporating online, TV, print and boarding passes.

- What are the strengths of your product to advertisers and what does it offer that other media do not?

Everyone claims they have an attractive audience. But we have an attractive, captive audience, especially in-flight. The key thing that really helped us last year was the diversity of the media options we have. Couple that with the many targeting opportunities BA Media has: you can target the Executive Club member online, the European traveller with Business Life, and get down to the minutiae of individual routes, cabins and days via boarding pass ads. It all adds up to minimal wastage. We relaunched Business Life, too, with an agenda much more focused on industrial and corporate advertisers. It has really prospered in a difficult market.

- What's your own favourite business journey?

I could say New York, but that's a bit obvious - wonderful as it is. How about Florence? We went there to see the Armanis of this world. That was quite something.

STEVE COX - MARKETING DIRECTOR, JCDECAUX AIRPORT

- Describe in more detail the audience that your product attracts.

It's always been my belief that, as a media sales company, your product is your audience. Your panels, or your spots, or your outside back covers are a means to an end. What we're selling is the potential opportunity to engage and influence a client's core consumers. For us, that means primarily affluent, educated business flyers - more than 100 million travellers pass through our airports annually.

- Have you made any innovations to your offer recently?

We've recently successfully re-tendered for the sales contracts at all of the UK's key business airports, plus Heathrow Express. Central to these pitches were our plans to further develop innovative campaign solutions. We already operate 700 digital screens across our UK portfolio and are currently working on new digital propositions for Edinburgh and Luton. In recent months, we've trialled interactive surface tables and dual-function touchscreens for Ford. We regard our airports as test-beds and showcases for new technology that, once developed, will roll out elsewhere in the outdoor medium.

- How encouraged are you that business travellers are coming back to airports in a significant way?

Business travellers have never gone away. Our research shows that, in the business world, the perceived importance of face-to-face meetings is as high as ever. Heathrow is the UK's premier business airport and, in July, it recorded its busiest-ever month. Heathrow Express continues to deliver an extraordinarily high business profile - 61 per cent of users are social class AB - and Sky's recent decision to come on board as a content provider for the on-train TV service highlights its recognition of the unique opportunity this profile presents.

- Who are your biggest advertisers and what have been the most interesting campaigns you've run recently?

Recent iconic campaigns have included innovative real-time updates of Wimbledon tennis scores for IBM from matches featuring players of appropriate nationality for the plane's destination. Microsoft's domination of Terminal 5 on banners, digital and zonal beacons is another great example of an advertiser recognising the potential in reaching core customers with an unmissable impact proposition. And GE's Global Gateways offer unrivalled stand-out in key locations at the same terminal.

- What are the strengths of your product to advertisers and what does it offer that other media do not?

Outdoor's real product is people, and in this respect it's going from strength to strength. Consumers are spending more time out and about than ever, and the most mobile are generally the most coveted by advertisers - the upmarket and affluent. With outdoor, the people you reach most are the people you most want to reach. But I've always believed that there's more to effective advertising than mere reach. Agreed, the first challenge is to get noticed, but, thereafter, the goal should be to present the advertising in such a way that consumers are drawn to engage with it. In this respect, the airport environment is uniquely conducive. Where else can an advertiser access an exclusive audience with literally hours to kill, eager for distraction and surrounded by attractively presented high-end retail propositions?

- What's your own favourite business journey?

I'd have to say taking the Heathrow Express to Terminal 5 followed by a flight up to a meeting in Edinburgh - two of the most attractive airports in the UK followed by the most attractive city. And if that's followed by a flight to JFK to see our panels there, then so much the better!

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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