British Midland, the UK's second-largest scheduled airline, is underscoring its relaunch and emergence as an international player with new TV advertising emphasising its user-friendliness.
The campaign, breaking nationally on Sunday 4 March, coincides with the rebranding of British Midland as bmi and marks its development from a short-haul operator to transatlantic carrier.
Bartle Bogle Hegarty has produced a series of seven commercials that draw on the down-to-earth approach of its cabin staff under the theme: 'Civil aviation.'
In one of the films, a stewardess advises an elderly woman passenger whose ears are popping to 'think of Des Lynam'. In another, the captain describes the maritime wonders of the Atlantic ocean to passengers sitting on the viewless side of the plane.
All seven commercials were written and art directed by Nick Gill and directed by Barney Cokeliss, his first work for Godman since joining the production company from Concrete at the end of 2000. Media buying is through New PHD.
The advertising is a precursor to the beginning of British Midland scheduled flights from Manchester to Washington and Chicago this spring.
It also heralds a pounds 20 million makeover by the airline, which is intended to increase its appeal to younger passengers and to give it a 'modern' identity in the fight against scheduled competitors such as EastJet, Go and Buzz.
The advertising is aimed at establishing British Midland's presence as a global business rather than just a regional airline. It now operates 55 aircraft on flights to 32 European cities and holds 14 per cent of the slots out of Heathrow, making it second only to British Airways.
At the same time, the company wants to capitalise on the joint marketing opportunities opened by its membership of the Star Alliance, which it joined two years ago after selling Lufthansa a 20 per cent share in the company.