Internet Travel With Context
March 28 to April 4, 2019
Read all about it! Is a celebratory British Airways advertisement one of the reasons why Britain is having a terrible Brexit? A novelist thinks so. Sinatra's old Cal Neva Resort has a new owner and is getting a massive makeover. Honolulu's rail fail. A misplaced coffee carafe at a California resort yields a $6.5 million jury verdict. Sleeper trains return. And more.
Is a British Airways Ad What's Wrong With Brexit?
The United Kingdom won't leave the European Union on March 29 as originally planned. When and how it finally departs--or if it leaves at all--seems as confusing as, well, understanding the linguistic and geographic differences between England, Britain, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. But at least one commentator knows who's at fault: British Airways. Writing in The New York Times, British novelist Sam Byers excoriated a BA commercial (above) celebrating the carrier's 100th anniversary as "suffused with the toxicity of Brexit." The ad, which shows average Brits and celebrities getting to and settled on BA Flight 100, is "a hymn to the solipsistic backwater we've become," he claims.
Created by the United Kingdom division of the Ogilvy ad agency, the commercial is called "Made in Britain" and stars Oscar winners Olivia Colman and Gary Oldman, well-known British athletes and other celebrities you may or may not recognize on this side of the pond. Agree with Byers or not, it's clear that British Airways never envisioned the spot to be quite so polarizing. BA, in fact, thought it was decidedly non-political. "We've let the politicians deal with the politics," explained Hamish McVey, head of brands and marketing at British Airways. "We're steering clear of that." And a British advertising trade publication last month called the spot "a love letter to Britain." Byers is having none of it, however. Referencing Colman's lines about Britain's love of "rather a lot of tea," the novelist insists "cups of tea will neither turn back time nor show us ... the future we've failed to imagine." All Brexit-weary Brits do, he writes, is pay "our favorite celebrities to chant to us, over and over again, our tattered mantra of virtue." Bet you didn't think any of this stuff was going on while you were waiting to see if your upgrade cleared ...