The new British Airways campaign cost £20 million ($30 million) and was supposed to usher in a new, mistake-free era.
But British Airways found a rival Virgin Atlantic plane in the company’s new TV advert, “Aviators”.
Luckily an eagle-eyed BA engineer spotted the error during a screening of the film to thousands of staff just a day before its official launch.
British Airways’ advertising agency, BBH, were then called upon to make an emergency edit to ensure the 90-second ad, which charts the history of the company, was corrected.
The offending clip showed a row of three British Airways Boeing 747s sitting on the tarmac. The closest displays the serial code G-VGAL, the marking for a Virgin Atlantic plane based in Manchester.
According to Sunday Mirror, the film’s CGI experts had put British Airways’ livery on the Virgin plane, but had forgotten to remove it.
By the time the ad was unveiled to the media and screened on television the Virgin code had been replaced with the correct British Airways markings.
A British Airways source told Sunday Mirror:
“The mistake was highly embarrassing – especially as Virgin Atlantic is BA’s prime competitor.
“Great pride had been taken in the detail of the advert, and the fact that so much money had been spent on it.
“Thanks to the quick thinking of one of the engineers they saved the blushes of all the senior management at BA, as well the advertising company.”
Before the blunder was spotted British Airways officials had lavished praise on the advert’s director Frederic Planchon on the company’s Facebook page.
Ironically the BA offcials wrote: “His (Planchon’s) attention to detail is second to none.”
A British Airways spokesman told the Sunday Mirror:
“The ad is complex and richly detailed, and its production involved an extensive editing process.
“This process had not been ¬completed by the time we needed to send preview DVDs to our workforce.”