BA woos the business market with £3m ads

British Airways is launching a £3 million campaign to attract more business travellers with the promise of a good night's sleep on long journeys.

The advertising promotes what the airline sees as its single biggest product advantage - a bed that enables business class passengers to lie completely flat and be ready for work as soon as they arrive at their destination. The beds will be available on 44 long-haul flights.

The message is underscored in a new commercial breaking on national TV this Friday through M&C Saatchi.

It features a businessman walking into New York's Times Square at night and climbing into bed. As he pulls the switch on his bedside lamp the lights in Times Square switch off. When the lights go up he is getting out of bed in London's Piccadilly Circus.

Steve Reeves directed the ad through Another Film Company. The production required the lights on all 74 billboards in Times Square to be turned off - the first time this has happened to allow a commercial to be shot.

It was written by Duncan Timms and art directed by Will Bates.

Optimedia is planning and buying media for the new campaign. The TV initiative is being supported with posters on 170 sites across London together with press and online advertising due to run until the middle of April. The campaign will kick off with cover-mounted editions of the Financial Times, which will be given to commuters at major London tube stations.

BA has recently positioned itself as a cheap airline on short-haul routes, while emphasising customer service on the more profitable transatlantic routes. Its initiative follows what the airline has described as "probably the most brutal 18 months in commercial aviation history".

Dale Moss, BA's director of sales worldwide, said: "Global business conditions are tough and the business travel market remains highly competitive. Our unique fully flat bed gives us the best business class in the market."