Avios claims ‘industry first’ as it puts creative control in its customer’s hands

Avios is placing its advertising in the hands of customers as its head of customer marketing Hannah Fletcher claims that “people no longer want to listen to big brands”.

The travel company – which serves as a loyalty-based, global currency for brands including the British Airways Executive Club, Flybe and Iberia Plus – has launched a microsite (www.domorewithavios.com) to allow customers to send display “nudge” messages to their loved ones.

The site, powered by DoubleClick’s eco marketing tool, will subsequently publish the personalised messages in banner spaces online after they’ve been vetted to ensure they are not offensive. Examples include two brothers, Tyler and Jake, who used the tool to create an ad asking their dad to use his Avios points to take them to the zoo.

Avios has already picked a selection of the best messages, including the boys’ message, for an out-of-home advertising campaign and to fuel social media activity. It is also considering using entrees for TV ads later in the year as part of the “Do More With Avios” campaign.

Admitting that the latest campaign has required an “element of bravery”, Fletcher said that utilising co-creation could become “fundamental” to future marketing plans.

She told Marketing Week: “I don’t think people are listening to big brands anymore. If you look at the trust barometers, the influence of social media and its ability to let people share with their loved ones is more potent then what brands have to say. With this campaign, we wanted to facilitate a true level of co-creation.”

Fletcher said personalisation-based marketing has become “too intrusive” and believes customers want to play more of a role in the direct messaging they receive.

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However she admitted the campaign was also fuelled by the brand’s aim to be cost efficient due to its “limited ad budget.”

“I suspect we will look at other iterations of this going forward and I can see it becoming fundamental,” she added. “Most travel brands tend to look at advertising through a CRM lens, we want to push boundaries.”

For the campaign’s launch ads, Avios put out a casting call on Facebook which Fletcher claims generated more than 600 entrees in just 24 hours.

She concluded: “There’s already been a real hunger for this campaign. A lot of brands talk about putting the customer first but we are the first to actually do it.

Before we were too functional – the messaging was all about ‘buy, collect and fly’. At the end of the day, our loyal consumers can talk up the benefits of Avios way better than we can so why not give them a platform to do so?”

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