Uncommon's playfully bonkers British Airways ads put a new spin on bad passport photos

Uncommon Creative Studio has created a new campaign for British Airways' Cityflyer service, using a series of very 'windswept passport photos' to demonstrate its speed.

Aiming to visualise the ease and rapidity of flying with BA from City Airport in London – check-in only takes "20 minutes from security to boarding," according to Uncommon – the campaign comprises a series of digital and analogue outdoor visuals which will be shown throughout London's main business centres throughout April this year.

The images were shot by multi-award-winning portrait and fashion photographer and filmmaker Emily Stein, whose playful approach, combination of commercial experience, and a fine art background shine through in both the process and the final images.

The people featured in the campaign were shot as they were blasted by a leaf blower, giving their faces a wildly distorted, instantly comedic look. Uncommon then used the portraits on passports which feature subtle details that further play into the concept of speed: the passport numbers, for instance, now read 'WHEEEE'.

Elsewhere, the illustrations on the passports demonstrate "various figures changing from their usual state to be impacted by a gust of wind," as the studio puts it. These include a family desperately clinging to a lamppost; and a barrister whose wig is blown away.

"The key to capturing the feeling of speed is to aim the leaf blower right in the model's mouth. Our leaf blower got up to around 45mph, but with hindsight, more is more, and we'd have loved an extra 30mph to help truly reflect the speed of flying BA from City Airport," say Uncommon creatives Ellie Daghlian and Elisa Czerwenka.

"When it comes to the passport pages, we tried it all. Flying letters, signatures taking off, hair leaving the frame – but in the end, we let the photo do the main job, with subtle illustrations supporting it. It felt cleaner and allowed the focus to go to the right places. We wanted to create a design that communicates quickly and clearly but rewards you with more details the longer you look at it."


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