DLB posits: advertising that uses transparent data doesn't just make a pitch, it makes a commitment.
This is how the ad reads: “YESTERDAY AT T5 AVERAGE TIME THROUGH SECURITY WAS 4.7 MINS. This picture was taken at 9:44am yesterday and shows Amanda Gemmill on her way to Beijing to watch her boyfriend compete in the Men’s Eight Rowing Final. 4.7 minutes was the average time the 842 customers we asked told us it took them to pass through Security yesterday, between 6am and 2pm. We had to stop at 2pm so we could make this ad.”
The purpose of this ad is to reassure travelers that Heathrow's new Terminal 5 alleviates the airport's infamously long security waits which often lead to delayed departures.
As Greenfield points out, the ad was created in what is soon to be "the old-fashioned way": humans walking around talking to humans, rushing information to the printers, and fixing it to static sheets of pulp. In the near future, it will be possible do the same thing in realtime, with sensors and dynamic media.
Consider the implications of this "transparent advertising". If BA is uses realtime data to taut better service, then to make their point they actually have to have better service.
Let that sink in for a moment.
If the data is not being manipulated and the ads aren't taken down at the first sign of trouble, this is a ballsy move. If BA holds up their end of the deal, it makes a powerful statement: "We don't need to be clever, we're just good-- and we've got the data to prove it". However, if BA slips up, that same copy becomes a public dissemination of guilt. Transparency cuts both ways.
It's an interesting angle in this age of jaded consumers: deliver on what is promised; truth, if not accountability, in advertising. I realize it's naive to expect things to work this way, but shouldn't they?
(Zingerman's would do it)