Impact BBDO taps into the shoppers’ mindset to create a clever search takeover

In a strategic move to establish itself as a prominent player in the Black Friday retail frenzy, Etihad Airways, the UAE’s national airline, tasked Impact BBDO with a global sales campaign that would redefine the airline industry’s approach to this annual shopping extravaganza.

Recognizing the challenge of promoting airline tickets during a period dominated by consumer electronics and appliances, Impact BBDO partnered with Google’s Creative Works to uncover an interesting insight: Black Friday sales begin way before Black Friday. With 70% of shopping-related searches containing “Black Friday” occurring in October and the days leading up to the main event, the agency identified a prime opportunity to engage potential travellers well in advance.

“To win Black Friday, we knew a regular sale campaign wouldn’t fly. So we asked ourselves, if people are shopping for iPhones, why not offer them a flight to New York to buy it there? Our hunch was that if we made a travel suggestion to the right person at the right time, it will work.” said André Nassar, Executive Creative Director at Impact BBDO.

Work it did. Employing an ingenious YouTube Bumper mimicking an in-flight safety announcement, the agency crafted a highly customisable ad that resulted in a staggering 2400 versions, each one persuading the customer to travel in order to get their desired item, be it electronics or fashion. Each version seamlessly swapped product and destination imagery, delivering hyper-personalised travel suggestions. These targeted messages reached the relevant In-Market Audiences across 20+ countries over three weeks, supported by a multi-channel strategy spanning Meta, TikTok, display ads, and Paid Search. The intricate nature of this data-driven performance marketing initiative required seamless collaboration between Impact BBDO, Google, Crossmedia, and Smartly to deliver optimal results.

Tiago Phillimore, Director – Digital & eCommerce at Etihad Airways, said: “Digital & eCommerce are a key growth engine for us, and there were high expectations on this campaign. All our partners worked to ensure that we could optimise the campaign in real-time. When the final numbers came in, we realised that this wasn’t just the best-performing campaign in terms of engagement and website visits; it resulted in the highest-ever digital sale recorded in our airline’s 20-year history.”

Through its innovative Black Friday Sale campaign, Impact BBDO successfully managed to convert deal-seeking shoppers into ticket-booking passengers, one click at a time.