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BA Case Study

By The Drum | Administrator

December 12, 2002 | 4 min read

Client: British Airways World Cargo

Project: Go Extreme Promotion

Agency:frank the agency


During 2000, British Airways World Cargo moved its operations into “Acentis”, a state-of-the-art facility close to London Heathrow Airport. This new facility aimed to improve British Airways World Cargo’s systems and operations to produce benefits for both its own business and its customers.

However, the transition took longer than expected and for a period they failed to match customer expectations, with a resulting loss of business. Throughout this time there was little marketing or advertising communication with the European markets.

By June 2001, British Airways World Cargo’s performance figures were regularly at an acceptable level and it was agreed that a promotion was required to reinvigorate the business.

The Brief

Put simply, the brief was to stimulate freight forwarding companies throughout Europe to return to British Airways World Cargo. However, with no specific product message, an incentive-based promotion was considered the best option.

The promotion would be available to over 400 companies throughout Europe, each, of course, with their own specific sales promotion legalities.

We considered how export companies work and who is responsible for sending cargo on a day-to-day basis. Most companies appeared to have an experienced line manager working with a team of approximately four clerks, most in the 18-30 age range; there was also a strong male bias. The promotion had to involve the entire team to ensure buy-in across the board.

The campaign had to aim to achieve an ROI of 5:1

The Idea

Our first step was to meet the area sales managers across Europe to try to understand each country’s business issues. It soon became apparent that incentive-based promotions were popular throughout the cargo market and whatever we produced would have to shout above the rest.

Looking at the customers’ profiles, an “extreme” prize offer researched as the most appealing, and a range of prizes was agreed – survival weekend, luxury powerboat experience, racing supercars and an astronaut experience at NASA. Smaller prizes of sports vouchers would also be offered.

In order to make sure that the promotion achieved and beat the required ROI, a system was devised where prizes were only won if the customer increased their level of business. By beating a target based on previous business performance, each company would be awarded points. This would be tracked over a 3-month period and those achieving the best increases in business would be awarded with the most points. The sales promotion campaign ran from May to June 2002 inclusive.

Each individual company could then allocate its points to the instant-win monthly prize draw or save them for the end of the promotion, when they could win one of the major prizes.

In order to adhere to each country’s legal requirements, prizes could not be given to companies direct. Instead, a free prize draw system was utilised, with each prize given a set number of points for entry. Companies could enter as many times as they liked to increase their chances of winning.

Each company was automatically given enough points to enter into the draw for one of the main extreme prizes. The smaller prizes would also be on offer at the end of each of the sections if the teams wished to enter.

Promotional literature was produced for the promotion and distributed to the teams throughout Europe. A database was produced, which would track each company’s results and would automatically produce its winning points.

Client Feedback

The client felt strongly that the types of prizes on offer, coupled with the target-based system of awarding points, would produce the necessary results. It was important that the British Airways World Cargo field sales managers fully briefed the companies involved and kept them up to date with their positions. The creative and design of the literature was felt to be very strong and, in difficult circumstances, was easy to follow.

The Result

Quite simply, the result was more than we could have hoped for. A target ROI was set at 5:1, which was achieved by the end of the second month. By completion, the promotion had achieved an ROI of 8:1 and, more significantly, had brought a number of major players back into the British Airways World Cargo fold, giving BA World Cargo the opportunity to demonstrate its improved performance.

Feedback from both the sales managers and the companies involved was extremely positive – so much so that a follow-up promotion was planned and is currently running.


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