Birmingham & Black Country

'Shakespeare's airport': Birmingham airport rebranding 'ridiculous'

Airbus and Shakespeare poster Image copyright SSPL
Image caption Shakespeare's England has long been advertised by travel companies, including Great Central Railway in 1911

A decision to rebrand Birmingham Airport as "Shakespeare's Airport" for flights to the US and China has been called ridiculous by marketing experts.

The airport wants to promote itself as being "associated" with the Stratford-upon-Avon playwright as it launches new flights to Beijing and New York.

The airport's commercial director, Jo Lloyd, said: "It's about getting people to remember us."

But experts said it was "ridiculous" to rebrand it for "two flights a week".

'Think Shakespeare, think Birmingham'

Jonathan Gabay, who has worked on creative branding in a variety of fields, including travel, and has written books on brand psychology, said: "You can't have one name for the US and China and another one for everyone else.

"It's an international airport. If you're going to change the name, change the name."

But Ms Lloyd said: "All we want to do is put our region in people's minds. We need to bring tourists here and we want to trade with China.

"There are millions of Chinese schoolchildren that learn about Shakespeare every year.

"It's not just those Chinese markets - we have also talked about extending this to North America. This summer we will have new flights between Birmingham and JFK Airport."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The airport wants to associate itself and the region with Stratford-upon-Avon, in neighbouring Warwickshire

Ms Lloyd said the "Shakespeare" tag was for tour operators only - the name "Birmingham Airport" would remain unchanged on departure boards.

"This is a marketing exercise," she said. "At the moment, there is no intention of changing the name.

"We just want people to think Birmingham, think Shakespeare. Tour operators will tell people to fly to Shakespeare's airport. It's a nice, feel-good way of connecting people."

Image copyright BBC/Getty Images
Image caption "We just want people to think Birmingham, think Shakespeare," said the airport's Jo Lloyd

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