British Airways: Thank you for not flying

Ross Berthinussen, Lucia Komljen, Heather Alderson and Richard Lawson
BBH London

Summary

Sponsorship shouldn't be just about handing over cash in exchange for kudos. At its best, sponsorship harks back to the values of patronage many centuries ago: of a desire to see the sponsored person or property be the best they can.

This is a story about how planning asked how British Airways (BA) could be a true sponsor of London 2012: how it could give more than "just" money. And in doing so, how it turned standard sponsorship thinking on its head: What could British Airways do for the Olympics rather than what could the Olympics do for British Airways? As the nation's flag carrier, it's also a story about how planning asked what the nation might do as its part of the bargain.

When planning realised that the answer to these questions involved the ultimate commercial sacrifice, it's also a story of how they not only made the case for that sacrifice but also bravely created the environment, structure and thinking to deliver it.