British Airways lands a check-in desk at Victoria station

British Airways, the UK’s largest airline, faced a tough challenge: they wanted to tap into the attractive cosmopolitan commuter audience. But how do you entice time-poor, wary commuters to part with their personal details so you can start a conversation with them? The prospect of just another freebie simply wouldn’t do. They need to create an experience that literally stopped passers-by in their tracks, the ultimate contrast to their dreary journey home.

British Airways decided to take the vacation experience where commuters would least expect it: the middle of the busy concourse at London’s Victoria train station. City workers and the general public were intrigued to find a pop-up check-in desk with Bouncepad iPad kiosks awaiting their arrival.

Passersby were invited to create a personalised boarding pass by entering their details and taking a picture on the iPad which was connected to a printer; this gave them access to an arcade-style flight simulator game and entrance to event competitions. Every ‘pilot’ was asked to take control of a Boeing 777 and land it, for example, in beautiful St. Kitts, one of seven incredible vacation destinations up for grabs. Every 15 minutes, BA awarded free flight tickets to those at the top of the scoreboard. Each winner’s recently taken ‘pilot picture’ was proudly displayed on the station’s main screen, courtesy of outdoor advertisers JCDecaux who helped turn Victoria into a truly digital space. Much to the delight of winners and onlookers alike, one student contestant won a ticket to see her boyfriend in Orlando, while a married couple managed to relive their honeymoon.

The gaming experience, devised by creative agency BBH and realized by MediaMonks created a huge buzz, with visitors literally lining up to take part. More than 11,000 commuters participated over the seven day period to win a total of 672 flight tickets. The PR event demonstrated the ever-growing trend towards experience led marketing. It’s simple: the audience is much more likely to engage with a brand, if there is fun involved – a win-win for both marketer and target group.

Throughout this fantastic event, the Bouncepad Flex iPad kiosk played a vital role. The Flex can be easily twisted and moved around, so it was ideal for sharing the screen between the desk attendant and the visitor. While it brought the whole BA check-in experience to life, more importantly, the Bouncepad made the crucial sign-up mechanism fun and effortless and it delivered the critical data that BA ultimately need to market to potential new customers.