No single site in the UK employs more people, or has more people going through it. Our job is to drive emotional engagement in the airport and footfall into its retail stores. The work we deliver ranges from set piece brand campaigns delivered through a social first media strategy, to hard working, fast turnaround retail advertising that persuades the consumer at every touchpoint.
Heathrow’s problem is that they had focused on operational excellence by necessity in order to deliver a faultless airport experience. However, this meant that service was so frictionless that customers hardly noticed that Heathrow was there. We knew that there was more to Heathrow than operational excellence. So, we sent a creative team to spend 24 hours in the airport and they made a simple observation; there is nowhere else on earth where you can experience a greater melting pot of emotions in one day. From saying goodbye to loved ones to welcoming them back home, from leaving a country you love, to coming to London to make the business deal of your life.
And in a world that is becoming increasingly divided we realised that Heathrow was a place that was bringing people closer together. So, Heathrow ‘Closer’ was born.
In a world where people are closing doors, Heathrow believe that people should continue to explore and learn from each other. As an airport, they see it as their role to enable people to feel closer to each other. In fact, Heathrow bring 270k passengers closer, every day. ‘Closer’ has become a powerful creative platform for us that has driven both brand relevance and retail sales.
Our first task was to launch a 70th anniversary campaign in just six weeks. It acted as a rallying cry, to celebrate the great things Heathrow has achieved and the future that’s ahead.
We increased participating passengers (those who spend in the airport) by 8%. Crucially our participating passengers spent on average £8.55 more – exceeding our target £5.
TAKING ‘CLOSER’ FURTHER
This approach resonated so strongly that both client and agency knew that we had to take Closer further and make a big brand customer facing campaign.
Each of our creative campaigns tell stories of our passengers, each told through the passenger’s eyes. Whether it’s a summer of adventures, getting closer to the world and the people in it, or coming home to your loved ones at Christmas, Heathrow is proud to be a part of that story.
This was no more apparent than in our two Christmas campaigns that shone a light on two very special passengers Mr and Mrs Bair. We had a limited budget, but we had confidence that the power of emotions – that naturally reside in Heathrow at Christmas – would provide the cut through needed at this competitive time of the year.
Whilst summer is the time for people to depart on their adventures, Christmas is a time to come home to your loved ones. Leading us to the single thought that Heathrow can provide the most precious gift of all; the gift of coming home.
In our film, we follow two bears travelling home for Christmas, highlighting charming moments of their experience as they travelled through Heathrow to meet their awaiting family, and finally resolving in the unveiling of their true selves. Initially running online, the film was also aired on TV with supporting print and outdoor executions adorning many commuter routes and high footfall areas. Alongside the bears, the retail focused executions encouraged people to take home an extra special something this Christmas; whether that be their favourite chocolates or a designer handbag.
Digital and social channels supported both the brand and retail executions and we were able to gain more impressions through our CRM programme. The campaign stole the hearts and minds of the nation, surprising everyone with a beautiful story that drove huge volumes of earned media for Heathrow.
A campaign that also encouraged people to spend physical time in Heathrow airport and resulted in a significant uplift in spend per passenger, encouraging each passenger to spend on average an extra £8.
The Heathrow Bears stole the hearts of the nation resulting in 110 million earned views from Facebook posts in the 6-week campaign period – hugely outweighing the 884 thousand we were able to achieve through media spend. They also picked up global press coverage and event was reported as “The Bears who stole Christmas”.
Whilst reserve and collect wasn’t a key objective for us, it was also pleasing to note that online visits to boutique increased x5 fold during the campaign period.
Our creative platform has provided consistency across everything we do. This is most obvious in our two key campaigns each year; however, it also runs throughout our ‘always on’ communications. We have a smart, data-led targeting approach to acquire and engage potential passengers, promoting products and services throughout their journey.
Our creative platform has allowed us to integrate emotional messaging into our timely and functional targeting. Insight and data have been crucial for us to establish a powerful brand positioning and understand how and where we speak to our passengers. Insight is such a fundamental part of our communications that we now have an online panel of passengers with whom we can ask questions of and test communications and ideas with.
We have been working with London Heathrow since 2016, taking them from a travel hub to a destination in its own right, driving brand affinity and increasing retail sales.