Yesterday British Airways and artist Tracey Emin unveiled the first of a set of unique Olympics-inspired plane designs to mark London 2012.
The outside artwork of the nine ‘Dove’ aircraft has been designed by Pascal Anson, from Brighton, who has been mentored by Emin.
The design of the plane, which will be in service for a year, involves using the cockpit for a beak, fuselage and wings for the main body, and the tailfin as a tail. The aircraft will be painted white with gold strokes of paint to represent the feathers.
Painting parts of a British Airways aircraft is nothing new. BA has a history of altering the design of the tailfin and famously upset Margaret Thatcher in 1997 when it redesigned the tailfins without the Union Jack.
It is the first time in their history they have painted the entire aircraft however.
One of the few airlines in the world to consistently paint the entire aircraft is Kulula, the low cost South African airline and subsidiary brand of British Airways.
I wondered firstly, how much of this idea was inspired by their sister brand Kulula originally using their planes in such a way? And secondly to what extent the idea was validated by the success they had had with the idea in the past?
It could all just be coincidence of course, but I’m always interested in this idea of parent brands allowing their subsidiaries to go out and be the Challenger, take risks and experiment, and ultimately validate ideas for their more cautious parent.
One brand who do deliberately use a subsidiary brand to extrapolate learning is O2. You can watch Gav Thompson talking about O2’s relationship with sister brand giffgaff here.