Etihad Airways and

Alex, 4 months ago

Etihad Airways and

Our friends at wanted to alert clients to the inauguration of Etihad Airways new route from Abu Dhabi to Barcelona, and they wanted to do so with aplomb.

Etihad Airways’ vision is to be the best airline in the world, connecting the globe via Abu Dhabi. 

The airline seeks to reflect its values of Arabian hospitality and warmth- as well as enhance the reputation of Abu Dhabi as a world-class business and leisure destination.

A company with strict and valued precepts such as putting the client first, making sure the client is comfortable and offering the very best and latest technology possible, simply can not and should not have to accept anything less from anyone else.

From a supplier’s point of view, we needed to treat every single user, every single person that was exposed to the creative we were making, as if they were in first class. No queuing up with the other passengers, no waiting to board, a personalised service that was top quality, lest they simply go somewhere else. It could be hand soap for economy class, champaign for first class, or the screens for each and every seat, it simply must be first grade. For a company like Etihad, one has to excel at what one does just to fit in.

The first task would be to marry a subtle, unobtrusive creative with something that showed off what can be done in terms of cutting-edge digital marketing. 

On top of that, a theme of travel had to be married to a theme of wonder, offering a fantastic airline with gold shavings on top is of no use to someone who does not have an interest in travelling, or has nowhere to fly to. It would be like trying to provide the world’s greatest trapdoors to a canoe factory, or a drum kit to a spy. To this end, we needed a theme to encourage that wanderlust, and again, show it in a way that encapsulated both plain comfort and decadent luxury.

So, sitting back in our first class seat, the first element of our brainstorm to be agreed upon was that we do not want, nor do we expect, a cheap pair of sunglasses wafted in our faces after we’ve had a tiny can for coke, for five euros. We want to be served a top notch glass, a flute even, of the finest champagne, and nothing but the merest glance will have a happy smiling member of the airline staff check in on us.

We needed to be unobtrusive. Any in-your-face attitude, or any hint of one, would quite rightly be rejected. We needed to be the smiling airline staff that is ready, and happy, to attend to any need that our potential traveller may need, and we should do so without them having to wait for the trolley to be wheeled down the aisle bashing their knees.

We imagined the webpage as the traveller's book or tablet, and our banner would in no way interfere with the screen, which was the content, but it would offer the extras that we want.

So we chose what looked like a humble banner. At the top of the page with no intrusion on the content, and the option to expand. This was like calling the attendant, our creative would then take over the screen as the user’s attention was switched and eyes raised to meet the friendly attendant. Once done, we would simply leave the passenger to go back to his or book, movie, crossword, or that lovely glass of champagne.

With a full-screen takeover we could provide that, and it was a concept that we agreed on, and one that left us with two new problems.

Firstly, we needed a truly magnetic CTA, we needed to make sure that the user knew that we were not offering a terribly tepid plastic cup of terrible coffee. We wanted the user to want to click because they thought something worthwhile was on offer.

On expansion, the user was taken to an Etihad plane soaring across the screen and followed by a gloriously elegant pop-up style animation of a sailboat sailing calmly on the ocean. A gorgeous cityscape in the background was celebrated with a dazzling firework display and the user emerged in everything we wanted to offer.

The chance to win 300 euros with our partners at was then suggested while the user sat back and enjoyed the show.

We were able to create an incredibly polished campaign that drew the user to the billboard and further into the ad. As the takeover opened up the user was treated to a pop-up-book style sea view that was both pleasing to the eye and with a CTR of 1.13 (almost six times the benchmark) effective.

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