Playful British Airways ads read travellers' minds – and the results are hilarious

An image of an ad from the British Airways British Originals campaign
(Image credit: British Airways / Uncommon Creative Studio)

Online questionnaires can be a pain to fill out at the best of times. We've probably all had the frustrating experience of having to choose from a list of multiple-choice radio buttons in which none of the options fits. When it comes to travel, we're often asked simply if our trip is for business or leisure, but British Airways has come up with some more specific – and honest – responses, from love affairs to cheap beer.

It's not doing things by halves either. Rather than turn out a handful or print ads and billboards, the campaign is probably a record-breaker for the sheer number of pieces – an incredible 500 lines of copy across print, digital and outdoor advertising (for more inspiration, see our selection of the best print adverts of all time).

British Airways' new ad campaign, A British Original (opens in new tab) is the work of Uncommon Creative Studio (opens in new tab) and media agency MG. The concept is impressively simple. Each billboard, print ad and video offers a take on the 'What is the purpose of your visit?’ question that often accompanies a trip abroad with a more honest third option added to the usual choices of 'business' and 'leisure'. 

Sometimes humorous, sometimes more emotive, the campaign features 500 print, digital and outdoor executions (the agency reckons this is a record and we're inclined to believe them). Alternative answers include options like 'Burnout', 'mischief' and 'stag do, pray for me.' Some of the pieces are specifically designed to fit their location - for example an ad displayed on the London Underground has the option 'warm gusts of wind that don't come from tube trains'.

Uncommon says the campaign will continue to evolve, with new copy responding to the local weather and what's happening in the news. Co-founder Lucy Jameson said: “We wanted to celebrate British originality at a time when we’ve never needed to rediscover it more. ‘A British Original’ champions people, not planes. We’ve started by shining a light on all the original reasons we fly — both for customers and British Airways’ people — but this is just the beginning."

The campaign is incredibly simple, but it's humorous, sometimes moving, and the scale of it makes it very engaging. The amount of pieces should also help prevent people from getting bored of it. For more successful advertising, see our selection of some of the best billboard advertising. And if you're getting into the festive spirit, don't miss our pick of the best Christmas ads of all time.

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Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.