Here’s a sneak preview of BA’s long-awaited new ad campaign – well a bloke in a leather helmet anyway

British Airways’ long-awaited big new branding campaign from Bartle Bogle Hegarty is due to launch of September 21 – at 11am on Facebook, interestingly – and here’s a sneak preview of what it contains.

Well, as you can see, it’s a bloke in a leather helmet which suggests that it’s going to feature a trip back to the future when pilots sported such headgear.

So it’ll be back to Croydon Aerodrome in the pre-war years when BA didn’t actually exist (the two British carriers from the post-war years to the 1970s were long haul BOAC and Europe-bound BEA)?

Anyway it’s all very enticing but no doubt there’ll be a few nerves at both BA and BBH. Giving a new ad campaign the big build-up is a high risk business but probably irresistible these days when you can do it cheaply on Facebook and other online media.

BBH, which has recently emerged from the (relative) doldrums with a number of new accounts in the UK including posh grocer Waitrose and Dulux paints, has struggled to produce anything like a statement for BA since winning the account nearly ten years ago from M&C Saatchi. To be fair it hasn’t been helped by musical chairs in the marketing department at BA, run by fierce Irish CEO Willie Walsh.

BA is arguably the account that put the old Saatchi & Saatchi on the path to (brief) world domination. winning the Tory Party account in the Thatcher era was its most famous win but it was the BA campaign ‘the world’s favourite airline’ that put it on the global map.

BBH operations in New York and China have recently suffered reverses with General Motors’ Cadillac departing New York along with some former managers and China resigning the LG account when the client decided to ask for pitches for each new campaign.

So the new campaign is a brilliant opportunity for BBH to remind the world what it’s capable of. Which makes it all the more nerve-wracking.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.