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British Airways



Positive Provocation

We challenged BA to capture the heart of the nation and boost brand love by “slipstreaming” into the World Cup buzz of 2018. The answer was to take BA’s real estate (the iconic boarding pass) and turn it into an emblem of England’s success.


2018’s uncharacteristically hot summer had cemented staycations on the nation’s agenda, resulting in a decrease in category interest. In a challenging time, British Airways (BA) needed to ignite a significant shift in brand affinity scores and sales.

With World Cup fever gripping the nation, Wavemaker and BA saw the opportunity to boost brand love by “slipstreaming” into the World Cup conversation with contextually relevant content.

But with no allocated budget and just one day before England’s quarter final, this represented a monumental task. We needed a first-class idea on an economy budget.


With #ItsComingHome and football memes trending, we needed a smart and authentic idea to cut through the noise and capture the nation. The answer was to take BA’s real estate (the iconic boarding pass) and turn it into an emblem of England’s success.

Bringing to life BA’s role as the nation’s proud flag carrier, the boarding pass literally showed that football was coming home, and BA was the brand to take it there.

Clever ‘Easter eggs’ such as the exact time of the World Cup final and the amount of years since England’s last triumph were hidden within the creative. This combined with some smart media placements targeted around football conversation ensured that it would be shared by football fans across the nation and beyond.


The campaign was a triumph of integration, designed, planned and activated in the 24-hours prior to the World Cup quarter final. This unprecedented speed to market was made possible by true collaboration between media, creative, production and client. The initial burst ran one day ahead of England’s game and with a small amount of spend, we focused on media tactics that would generate shareability.

As the nucleus for football conversation, we utilised social spend across Twitter, targeting users who were sharing and engaging with World Cup content. In OOH, we selected a few handpicked sites around key football viewing locations. We supported this with two national press insertions on the morning of the quarter final to capture fans travelling to the game.

We even worked closely with the broader business to have our boarding pass handed out on all flights from Heathrow to Moscow.


The BA boarding pass embodied a true cultural moment in the nation’s psyche, achieving virality on a global scale.

It became the most talked about piece of advertising during the World Cup (despite not having any official sponsorship) featuring within UNILAD, BBC Sport and The Sun, whilst industry press touted it as a ‘masterclass in tactical advertising’.

Positive sentiment (Twitter)
Engagement rate vs. benchmark
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