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This is a self-funded case study using our ad testing solution.
It’s been an unforgettable month for most Australians, glued to their television screens and caught up in a whirlwind frenzy — courtesy of the country’s inspirational women’s soccer team, the Matildas. And while the action on the pitch has been nothing short of breathtaking, being the advertising nerds that we are meant we couldn’t help but also notice the off-field action — with one brand in particular making the most of this unprecedented cultural moment.
With its warm, sentimental, and family-oriented theme, Qantas’ “Feels Like Home Again” was initially launched in time for Mother’s Day. However, its shelf life was fittingly extended, becoming a consistent presence throughout the World Cup. In the process it successfully capitalized on the public’s heightened sense of patriotism. With the nation rallying behind the green and gold (and the World Cup itself taking place in Australia’s — and New Zealand’s — own backyard), the official airline of the home team emerged as one of the key beneficiaries of the event’s historic success.
Once again hitching their wagon to the “home” platform — and redeploying Martha Marlow’s folksy soundtrack (which the brand first introduced in 2014) — “Feels Like Home, Again” conveyed impressions which were unmistakably for Qantas right from the get-go.
The ad told the story of a young man who was working overseas but travelled halfway around the world to surprise his mother on a special occasion. And while the warm-hearted, “slowly and softly” approach struck the passive tone Qantas is renowned for, this didn’t detract at all from the strength of the ensuing emotional response.
In a delightful twist, the ad was actually a real story. The characters and pivotal moment of the reunion? All genuine. Crucially, this meant the emotions captured were the unstaged, authentic reactions of a mother reconnecting with her son for the first time in four years. While this wasn’t explicitly communicated, the outpouring of emotions couldn’t be easily manufactured, meaning the ad successfully reinforced Qantas’ credibility.
But what has this all got to do with the ‘Tillies? Well, by ramping up their presence during a once-in-a-lifetime moment of national unity, the brand cemented its distinctive positioning — specifically that Qantas is Australia’s national carrier. Qantas’ continued single-minded focus on leveraging nostalgia as a mechanism for evoking pride in the nation’s airline (and positioning itself as almost heroic in its ability to bring together loved ones from afar) led to people feeling more galvanized following exposure to the ad. This meant that, even amidst a market obsessed with low-fares and no-frills flying, “Feels Like Home, Again” was still incredibly effective at reinforcing unconscious predisposition toward Qantas.
After years of turmoil and disruption during the pandemic, it turns out Aussies may be discovering they still have a soft spot for the famous flying kangaroo after all.