British Airways


Press Release   •   Oct 27, 2010 09:25 BST

Thousands of British Airways customers flying into Heathrow airport’s Terminal 5 today are being unexpectedly serenaded by hundreds of singers and dancers as part of a ‘flashmob’ organised by mobile phone network T-Mobile.

Passengers walking through arrivals are being greeted by a crowd of more than 500 people – a mixture of waiting public, taxi drivers, British Airways cabin crew, baggage handlers and T-Mobile staff and customers – who are spontaneously bursting into synchronised song and dance.

With up to 80,000 people expected to pass through Terminal 5 today, the exclusive home of British Airways, hundreds of individuals will be serenaded during the course of the day. Each of the unsuspecting passengers will be greeted personally by the crowd singing one of a number of songs taken from a tracklist compiled specifically for welcoming travellers back home.

The crowd, some of whom were alerted to the flashmob taking place by a text from T-Mobile, is being supported by a human orchestra of 20 singers who are using their voices to mimic instruments including beatboxes, violins, cello and drums. It is the first time flash mobbing has ever taken place at a UK airport and hidden cameras have been placed around the terminal by T-mobile to capture the action.

The tracklist, which will be performed by singers in acapella and supported by the ‘human orchestra’ along with members of the public passing through the airport, includes ‘At Last’ by Etta James, ‘Comin’ Home Baby’ by Mel Torme, ‘Return of the Mack’ by Mark Morrison, ‘I am the Passenger’ by Iggy Pop and ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (for me)’ by George Michael & Aretha Franklin.

The ad follows T-Mobile’s previous two guerrilla style advertisement, which are now world renowned and were designed by the mobile network to create moments for sharing. It follows the original from January 2009 entitled ‘dance’ that showed more than 400 dancers spontaneously break into a routine at London’s Liverpool Street station and ‘sing’, filmed in May 2009, which saw popstar Pink lead more than 13,000 people in a karaoke singalong in Trafalgar Square. Combined, these two recorded more than 28 million YouTube hits from around the Globe and have won numerous awards within the advertising industry.

Spencer McHugh, Director of Brand at T-Mobile commented: “We wanted to create and capture a moment that is so unique and upbeat that people just want to share it. We all know what it can be like arriving at an airport after a flight, walking past the drivers with the names on the cards and we thought that, just for one day, we should give travellers a welcome they would never forget. With our hidden cameras we were able to record the reaction of the returning travellers and the spectacle of more than 500 people singing and dancing in airport arrivals, all of which will be shared when the advert premieres on Friday night.”

The advert will premiere on Friday 29th October at precisely 10.10pm when a full length 3 minute version will be screened. In what is a world’s first, the ad will premiere across the entire ad break simultaneously across the more than 86 digital and terrestrial commercial TV channels along with all of the major social networks including Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. It is expected to be watched by nearly 10 million people across the UK and reach more than 2 million households.

The advert, which is being made for T-Mobile by agency Saatchi & Saatchi, is being filmed, edited and broadcast in under 36 hours and is the first ever to be filmed at Heathrow Terminal 5.

Mc Hugh added: “We want to create adverts that not only show our products in a different way but are entertaining and interesting enough that people want to share them with their friends – whether that’s over a chat in the pub, on twitter or on text. It simply isn’t good enough any more to put a 30 second advert on in the break on Coronation Street. That’s why we are launching with a 3 minute version and will be launching on social and traditional media simultaneously.”

A Pay As You Go tariff is available from T-Mobile that gives customers unlimited texts to any network for free for a month when they top up with £10.00 call credit