Hit or Miss? EasyJet backs Shakespeare Day campaign with world record attempt

EasyJet aimed to break the world record for the highest ever theatrical performance for Shakespeare's 450th birthday yesterday with the Reduced Shakespeare Company performing on a flight from Gatwick to Verona.

National Shakespeare Day: easyJet's special plane
National Shakespeare Day: easyJet's special plane

The stunt was part of a longer-running campaign to have 23 April officially recognised as a Bank Holiday called National William Shakespeare Day.

The campaign, which is backed by the actress Emma Thompson and Bloomsbury Publishing, is aiming to get enough signatures to produce a debate in Parliament.

EasyJet's support over the past month has included painting Shakespeare's image on the side of a plane, collecting signatures for the petition and offering free Shakespeare performances at UK airports.

How I See It

Mark Stringer, founder, Pretty Green

We love a National Day more than we love a world record and World Shakespeare Day combined with a national holiday is a really lovely idea. However, easyJet championing the celebration of 450 years? I'm not sure I immediately see the natural link between Luton, orange and the Bard.

The campaign is lovely, and it has all the right ingredients: a decorated plane travelling to Verona; being entertained with some of his most famous works in an attempt to set a world record, a petition to create a national Bank Holiday involving Stratford-upon-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi, to force a debate in Parliament.

I like the creative execution, and the fact they are celebrating someone who’s permeated all our collective consciousness since childhood. However, I struggle not to see this as a commercial hijacking by a commercial airline trying to flog tickets to Verona as opposed to a brand that truly believes in National Shakespeare Day. At least it’s better than National easyJet Sausage Week.

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