Sunday, 30 March 2008

Shoot the Ad Agency...

I opened my Sunday Times Business Section today to a huge BAA ad across the centre pages headlined:

'Heathrow Terminal 5. From here, you can see tomorrow.'

The ad goes on:

'Wherever you're going, you want getting there to be as easy and enjoyable as it can be. That's the reason we've invested £4.3 billion building Terminal 5 at London Heathrow. It's designed the way tomorrow's airports will be - around people, not just planes. So our new technology will help make your journey simpler and faster. We've brought you some of the world's best eating and shopping experiences. And we've added lots of places where you'll want to relax and enjoy the view.'

'Heathrow Terminal 5. It's more than a new terminal. It's a new beginning.'

Now, I realise how easy it is to sit on the sidelines and criticise when a business hits problems. However, in this instance, the media agency has been totally negligent in allowing these ads to run, given what took place this week. The media space was clearly bought months before, but why oh why didn't someone at the agency replace the planned ads with a simple statement of heartfelt apology from either CEO of the two companies involved - BAA or BA?

The copy deadlines would have been on Friday and with some foresight some quick thinking person could have averted this media disaster.

If I were BAA I would be sacking my ad agency.


John said...

I couldn't agree more, that's a terrible oversight.

simon said...


I missed this one ;-( but I do especially like the line 'And we've added lots of places where you'll want to relax and enjoy the view.'

With all that waiting there will be plenty of time to enjoy the view.

I do think both BA & BAA haven't learnt to deal with internet time properly though, oversights like this, not getting good information and apologies into the public domain quickly is just completely unacceptable in this day & age. If there is an information vacuum then people will speculate and postulate to till the vacuum.


Bo Danerius said...

Dont shoot the messenger.

Rachel Elnaugh said...


An ad agency is not a 'messenger', they are absolutely responsible for the communication strategy of the client.

I would presume this is a £multi-million account with a dedicated account team; SOMEONE should have reviewed the strategy immediately the problems started unfolding last week and pulled/replaced these ads.

I also think someone at the Sunday Times should have said to the agency are you SURE you want to run with these?!!!??

Stephen Ryan said...

It is clear to me that the media should spend less time attacking everyone elses position and perhaps begin to watch their own backs.

Just in case someone decides they should become the target for once.

Believe me, there are some fantatic stories about the press that would keep the readers attention - for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

Like the one where they killed Lady Di!