Qantas pulls on heart strings with ‘Fly Away’ ad: Five experts share why it works

Australian advertising experts have praised a new Qantas ad that has many viewers longing to travel again, saying its message of hope is “exactly what we need right now”. 

The airline’s ad, which promotes its ‘Be Rewarded’ campaign of discounts and incentives to vaccinated customers, features scenes of people travelling to reunite with loved ones once more Australians are vaccinated, set to the evocative soundtrack of ‘Fly Away’ by Tones and I. 

The short commercial was met with widespread praise on social media on Monday, with journalists, advertisers and even Australia’s former deputy chief health officer Dr Nick Coatsworth giving the ad a round of applause. 

So what makes the ad work? SmartCompany asked a roundtable of advertising and PR experts to weigh in. 

Bethanie Blanchard, head of strategy at Carat Melbourne ​​(@beth_blanchard)

This campaign is an example of the power of acts plus ads.

Qantas has always been best in class at using their advertising to sell the emotional appeal of the product — connection, belonging — over the functional one. This one elevates an activity we’re all longing for, to travel again, into an act of solidarity and pride.

Part of the reason it makes us so emotional is that it has true empathy at its core, representing small moments of sadness or tension we’ve all experienced over the last 18 months: milestones delayed, people and events missed, passports expired signifying freedom lost. But more importantly, it goes further than just the ad and is backed by authentic and meaningful acts: points and discount incentives for those who do the right thing and get fully vaccinated.

These campaigns are deeply important in the moment we’re in as a nation through the vaccine rollout. We saw research during the early days of COVID that showed there was greater faith globally in companies and brands to respond to the crisis effectively than there was in governments. Companies repurposed their warehouses and factories to produce masks, hand sanitiser and medical equipment.

We’re seeing similar leadership through vaccine comms now too: initially, there was lots of commentary about what the ‘right’ government ad strategy should be. But the truth is that it’s these nudges by as many brands, publishers and organisations as possible, with all their differing angles and audiences that will make an impact on vaccine uptake

Originally published on SmartCompany here

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