Creative agency BWM Dentsu has just launched its first work for Qantas in a series of ads and assets about the airline’s employees. We had a sit down with the agency’s head honchos, ECD Ash Naidu and MD Alex Carr, for a behind-the-scenes look at the campaign and whether it lived up to the Flying Kangaroo’s acclaimed ‘Welcome Home’.
The vehicle tailing the crew was packed with family members. While the packed carload wasn’t in ad, they were supporting their kin who was one of the stars in the latest campaign for Qantas. It was a poignant moment, reminisced Ash Naidu, the creative mind behind the two-week old campaign.
The executive creative director at BWM Dentsu said the quirks and stories of each Qantas staffer in the spots showcased their passion for the job. It brought a smile to his face when he sat down for a chat with us.
The campaign coming from BWM Dentsu is the creative agency’s first work for Qantas since winning the account last November. The series highlights four Qantas employees, their jobs, tales and what makes them them.
While Naidu and managing director Alex Carr are thrilled how the campaign turned out, there was underlying pressure from the airline’s previous campaign ‘Welcome Home’, which brand manager Olivia Wirth said they had to hand out tissues to focus group members when it first launched.
“What we took from the ‘Welcome Home’ piece that we loved, tonally and also thematically, was the humanity of it,” said Carr.
“There’s a lot of humans in airline ads, but there’s not much humanity, and there’s a huge amount of humanity in the ‘Welcome Home’ piece because it’s true.”
Carr noted it’s hard for agencies to swoop in on another’s work – the ‘Welcome Home’ campaign was developed by Lawrence Creative Strategy – and create something that feels the same. “It was a huge challenge.”
And the trouble with just asking employees to tell the camera why they love their job is it turns into a cheesy testimonial piece. Which was why they had to interject the titbits and stories, explained Naidu.
Selecting the employees
Obviously, Qantas employs a lot more than four people. For Naidu, the process involved hours of interviews with staffers, trying to coax out interesting stories to feature.
“We needed people who could sit down and be very easy to talk to,” he said. “You had to dig a little to find those stories.”
A Qantas staffer involved in the brand side sent out an internal email to staff requesting potential protagonists. The customer-facing employees were the first to raise their hands, however Naidu said not many engineers were interested in being involved, and many others were shy.
The final employees who made it into the ad series were:
Rachel Bacon, engineer
George Fountoulakis, baggage handler
Jennifer Catalano, lounge host
Egon Mahr, A330 captain
Development of the campaign
The turnaround since winning the account and launching the campaign was three months. Carr praised the team for working tirelessly for the period; getting all the print and digital work ready.
“It was pretty intense,” remarked Carr, “but relatively stress-free”, to which Naidu, the creative brains behind the campaign and the one on all the shoots, shot Carr a wry look.
When trying to cajole the stories out of the employees, it couldn’t be a point-and-shoot-while-telling-the-story type film. Naidu said the interviews on camera often lasted a lot longer than expected.
But it was made easier, put in Carr, by the fact Qantas knew exactly what it was looking for. It’s a brand that knows what it stands for and what it should sound like, he said.
Despite being a speedy turnaround, Naidu remained smiling. He reminisced about a particularly quirky moment on set when sitting in the car with one of the stars, only to turn around and see a giant zucchini nestled in the back seat.
“It was the weirdest thing,” chuckled Naidu.
Content discovery and native advertising platform Taboola has announced the beta of ‘Taboola Stories’, a new way for publishers to engage readers through short-form video. Publishers will be able to embed Taboola Stories within their homepages and articles in mobile environments, presenting readers with constantly updated recommendations that, once selected, launch vertical, mobile-friendly stories that […]
The Australian metropolitan commercial radio audience grew by two per cent to nearly 11.1 million listeners in 2020, in a year dominated by COVID-19 which saw the number of people listening at home jump by eight per cent to 6.4 million. Commercial Radio Australia’s annual listening summary, based on an average of the five official […]
Australian congenital heart disease profit-for-purpose charity HeartKids has launched a new brand strategy, identity and logo created by independent brand and design agency Hulsbosch. Leaders in the fight to conquer congenital heart disease, HeartKids aims is to raise awareness of the disease, as well as enhance the conditions’ profile as a health priority to a […]
TotallyAwesome, the Asia Pacific’s most advanced forum for kids and brands to safely interact via the internet, is launching a new service for brands to connect with young audiences. The business has also engaged an eminent Melbourne-based paediatric psychologist to assist with appropriate brand and audience connectivity. The new service, called AwesomeLTV, is an acceleration of TotallyAwesome’s abilities to […]
Nine Entertainment SVOD service Stan has revealed its original series, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under, will be arriving to the platform in 2021. The eight-part, first-ever local adaption of the global hit series will see “the most fabulous” and “fierce” local drag queens compete to be the first ever Down Under Drag Race Superstar, Stan […]
In his first post for 2021, B&T regular Robert Strohfeldt points his magnifying glass at digital media’s hype and argues it’s possibly not cracked up to all it purports to be… In the past few months, I have seen many CVs of young graduates seeking a career in marketing and/or advertising. I could fool myself […]
B2B marketing agency McCorkell has announced that it has been appointed an official Asia-Pacific partner of RainFocus, the next-generation event marketing and management platform. The collaboration will see both companies come together to shake up the end-to-end event service model across APJ. “As the only true integrated event marketing and management platform servicing everything from […]