Robert Ayling, the chief executive of British Airways, has been voted
advertiser of the year at Cannes.
Ayling was selected under new criteria introduced this year, which
includes consideration of the client’s marketing policies, business
acumen, management skills and willingness to accept groundbreaking work,
as well as the calibre of its advertising.
Roger Hatchuel, the festival’s president said: ‘The advertiser of the
year award originally related exclusively to creativity but this has
proved too restrictive.
‘We wanted to honour an advertiser whose company is truly innovative in
all areas. Otherwise the award would go to Nike and Levi’s every year.’
BA has been up among the contenders at recent Cannes festivals, but has
been pipped at the post by Heineken, Nike and Levi’s for the past three
Hatchuel hinted that under the new criteria Procter and Gamble came a
close second and could possibly win the award next year.
Ayling joined BA as the legal director in 1985. He became the group
managing director in 1993 and was promoted to chief executive of the
company in 1996.
Ayling, 48, was articled to a law firm at the age of 16.
At 24 he became the youngest partner in a law firm. Five years later, in
1973, he joined the Department of Trade on the team to handle the UK’s
entry into the European Economic Community. In the early 80s, he worked
for the MP, Norman Tebbit, as chief legal adviser on international trade
M&C Saatchi won a bronze lion for its BA Club World campaign in the
press and poster awards in Cannes this week.
Ayling commented: ‘British Airways has led the whole airline industry
with its innovative and creative advertising for more than a decade.
‘Our strategy has been to create successful campaigns which build a
unique image and personality for us around the world in all our markets.
‘BA is fortunate to have the best creative talent in the ad business in
M&C Saatchi, and together we have produced outstanding work.’