Best of British brands: British Airways

Leading UK marketers celebrate the most iconic British brands from the past five decades

Malcolm McLaren’s Aria on Air blasts through the terrible speakers of our old television. I watched the screen, mesmerised, as people from around the world ran from every direction to embrace each other and collectively form first a human face and then, within seconds, a globe. I was only seven years old. For those 60 seconds, I wasn’t a boy sitting on the floor of a cold council flat in Queens Park; I was on a journey – carefree, travelling the world, meeting new people.

This was an airline confident enough to run an ad without an aeroplane in sight. Instead, it sold its purpose – to connect the world. It was on that day that I realised the power of advertising and what I wanted to be when I grew up. British Airways was once "The world’s favourite airline"; today, according to the TripAdvisor 2018 Travellers’ Choice Awards, it’s not even the UK’s. But it connected me to an industry I love – and therefore it will always be mine.

Musa Tariq is former chief brand officer at Ford 

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