advertising, social networking, user-generating

Two bits of communication, one voice: How British Airways is demonstrating local knowledge thru Social Networking site Metrotwin

"British Airways flies hundreds of thousands of passengers between New
York and London every year. So it feels right for us to be backing
something genuinely useful for people living in and traveling between
NYC and London"
…is the elegantly simple reason that BA give for creating Metrotwin; a social networking site that twins New York with London and treats both cities as a single online community.

at the heart of the site is utility – classic aggregator territory here – with the site aiming to recommend only "the ten best places to drink coffee" and suchlike.  Metrotwin’s
recommendations come from locals, bloggers and online communities based
in both cities but can be reviewed and rated by everyone.

speaking at the Social Networking World Forum (social networking must have come of age – they have a world forum, though its not in Cannes so a bit to go yet) in London this week, Chris Davies, digital marketing manager at BA said that this and another social networking site from the airline had "challenged
the perception of the brand" and made the airline seem more "up to date and

I'm not sure I'd go that far.  but the site is clean, simple, brilliantly designed and – most importantly – really single-minded about what its there to do and why BA is doing it.

I was going to do my usual "it's not joined up – they need to be amplifying their online content with broadcast" line, but I think the (presumably deliberate) separation between Metrotwin and the broadcast campaign that BA has been touting (the 'do what a local does stuff) is totally right.

two very different strands of communication from BA.  one generated by users, the other by the good people of Kingly Street.  one is digitally-centric whilst the other is broadcast-centric.  but what unites these two bits of communication is local knowledge.  do they need to be seamlessly integrated?  no.  they need to come from the same place, with the same brand voice; each living in – and making the most of – its own media world.

that said, I do hope that BA and agencies are using Metrotwin content in the online advertising.  it would be a shame to see such great user-generated digitally-centric content siloed in the site – get it out into online spaces, show the web what you're up to – cos its all good.

thanks to Hanson for the heads up on this.


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