British Airways Places Ads On Travel Book Barcodes

British Airways Places Ads On Travel Book Barcodes

Facing brand awareness issues in Brazil, the U.K. based airline got their audience’s attention using a new in-store medium.

Ryan Gerhardt
  • 24 january 2013

Austrian Airlines. Air France. South African Airways. British Airways. To some, the names of these airlines send a very clear message: these are the only countries we fly to. They’re listed directly in our names, so don’t even ask if we fly anywhere else. At least, that’s the problem that British Airways was facing.

In Brazil, many people thought that British Airways only traveled to the U.K. The brand was clearly facing a brand awareness issue, since many people didn’t know what British Airways had to offer for destination options. The brand could have gone with an expensive, mass media advertising campaign to try and change perceptions about the airline’s offerings, but would they be effectively reaching the right people? Chances are, no; most of the media budget would be wasted.


Brazilian agency AGE Isobar convinced British Airways to go smaller, instead of bigger. AGE Isobar’s idea was to increase brand awareness by getting their message to consumers at the ideal moment when they’re thinking about travel: in the travel section of a bookstore.

Consumers in a Brazilian bookstore received direct messages from British Airways when using book scanners to check the prices and information of books they’re interested in. Users could scan the barcodes and receive a message for a book on Russia that may say, ‘Going to Moscow? Fly with British Airways. From U.S. $900.’



The barcode reader ad is fun, interactive, and, most importantly, conveys the brand’s message at a time when the audience is the most receptive to hearing it. British Airways was able to gain a relevant place in their target’s frame of mind for a fraction of what a mass media campaign would have cost.

The use of a new medium was also cost effective. Plus, a video of the interaction has been uploaded to YouTube for further views (on the writing of the article, it had around 4,400 hits). With many people doing their travel search online, it’d be interesting to see how a digital component would tie into this campaign and if it’ would be as innovative as the barcode reader ad.

Check out a video of the campaign below:

British Airways

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