British Airways ads channel the sensation of speedy check-in

A leaf blower was used to create the windswept expressions in the airline’s new campaign to promote its rapid check-in service

Image shows a British Airways advert on the side of a building showing an edited passport page, featuring a passport photo of a person with their mouth blown wide open

People travelling to and from UK airports in the last few years will be familiar with the abnormally long and painful queues along the way.

Uncommon’s new set of ads for British Airways taps into customers’ collective impatience, by highlighting the short journey from check-in to departure gate at London City Airport using BA’s Cityflyer service. It’s the latest piece of work from Uncommon’s partnership with the airline, following a minimal, copy-led campaign last autumn.

The creative team used a leaf blower to create the wind-slapped facial expressions caused by high speeds. Shot by Emily Stein, the photographs were then incorporated into passport-style ads which are being rolled out in locations in the city with a high footfall of business workers.

“It turns out the key to capturing the feeling of speed is to aim the leaf blower right in the model’s mouth,” said Uncommon creatives Ellie Daghlian and Elisa Czerwenka. “Our leaf blower got up to around 45mph, but with hindsight more is more, and we’d have loved an extra 30mph or so to help truly reflect the speed of flying BA from City Airport.”

The illustrations inside the passport have been subtly tweaked in keeping with the windswept theme, with trees, leaves, wigs, and even entire families being blown away by gusts of wind. In the ads, the passport page has also been edged with a perforated stamp that reads ‘WH333333’ in place of a passport number.

“When it comes to the passport pages themselves, we tried it all. Flying letters, signatures taking off, hair leaving the frame – but in the end we let the photo do the main job, with subtle illustrations supporting it,” Daghlian and Czerwenka add. “It felt cleaner that way, and allowed the focus to go to the right places. We wanted to create a design that communicates quickly and clearly – but which also rewards you with more details the longer you look at it.”

Image shows an illustration of a family being blown away by the wind, shown on a fake passport page as part of a British Airways advert
Image shows a British Airways advert of inside a station showing an edited passport page, featuring a passport photo of a person with their mouth blown wide open