British Airways is using custom-built technology for its latest ‘magic of flying’ campaign in an advertising first. The advert, developed by the airline’s global creative technology Ogilvy 12th Floor, seeks to remind people how magical flying can be and approaches the topic from a child’s perspective. The adverts are located on digital billboards in Chiswick and Piccadilly, and will actually interact with the aircraft flying overhead thanks to surveillance technology

The system tracks the aircraft and interrupts the digital display just as it passes over the site, revealing the image of a child pointing at the plane overhead accompanied by its flight number and destination it’s arriving from. For example the screen may read: ‘It’s the BA0234 from Los Angeles’. This will then be followed by a message relevant to that flight, in this case ‘Fly the new A380 to Los Angeles.’. Other destinations will be accompanied by other information such as the lowest available fare or the temperature in the destination. The destinations can also be updated immediately depending on changing focus routes for the airline.

Abigail Comber, head of marketing, said: “This is a first, not just for British Airways but for UK advertising. We all know from conversations with friends and family that we wonder where the planes are going and dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination. The clever technology allows this advert to engage people there and then and answer that question for them.

“We hope it will create a real ‘wow’ and people will be reminded how amazing flying is and how accessible the world can be.”