We went looking for innovative, fun, or just thoughtful campaigns airlines have used to get their name out there, lend a helping hand, and show they are more than just large companies looking to make a buck.
Here are three of the leading Public Relations campaigns for airline companies:
British Airways “UnGrounded” Campaign
BA was offering more flights from the West Coast (U.S.) to the UK, but the entrepreneurs and techies on the West Coast felt the airline was not up with the times. How did BA combat that thinking? They did several things with their campaign, including setting up a micro website called UnGrounded Thinking for developing innovative ideas in the travel space. The genius move, though, was when BA created a lab in the sky on a special hackathon flight from San Francisco to London with 100 leading technologists, entrepreneurs, company founders, and academics.
This flight gave all these thought leaders time to talk, interact, brainstorm, and whatever else they chose to do together. At the end of the flight, the team members presented their work to the Secretary General of U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union and the Decide Now Act (DNA) Summit sponsored by the U.N. As a result, 4 winning ideas, and 26 concepts were generated, as well as 90 unique articles published from the time spent on the hackathon flight. For British Airways, premium flight business from San Francisco increased year-over-year by 20%, and small/midsize business by 10%.
JetBlue’s Fly it Forward Campaign
JetBlue started this campaign in 2014 when they gave several individuals airline tickets they could use. These individuals were all people who had done noteworthy humanitarian service of some kind. But the gift didn’t end with those individuals traveling wherever they wanted within the JetBlue network.
Each individual then had the opportunity to give the “never-ending” ticket to someone else who could use it to do good for themselves or a cause they are involved in helping. You can nominate someone you know for one of these tickets by visiting a microsite established for the purpose by JetBlue, or by using #FlyItForward and information about your nominee on your social media posts. Want to see more about the first group of recipients? Watch this JetBlue FlyItForward video.
KLM’s Social Media Surprise Gifts
At the end of 2010, KLM made a big effort during the time passengers usually wait to board after checking in with the airline. 40 of those passengers were immediately researched by staff members of KLM, checking their Twitter and FourSquare information. The employees searched various social media accounts of the individuals to learn about reasons for their trip, and what each person enjoys doing.
Purchases were made for each of the selected travelers using that information. The gifts were put on their designated seats waiting for them once they boarded the flight. This idea took a lot of effort and probably not much money in the grand scheme of things. KLM received over 1 million views, shares, retweets, and posts from the travelers and people who read what they said. Yep, win-win on the surprises.
Ain’t easy for people ever to think good things about airlines – yet there are three smart PR airline campaigns.