American Airlines LAXstraordinary

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Pro AwardsMost Innovative Communication Strategy
Best Campaign Targeting a Specific Demographic

Agency: The Marketing Arm
Campaign: American Airlines LAXstraordinary
Client: American Airlines

On April 5, 2011, American Airlines launched nonstop service to 10 destinations from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), including a flight to Shanghai. Normally, this type of launch would be supported exclusively by traditional on- and offline media, but with so much clutter in the LA marketplace, there was concern that traditional marketing wouldn’t be enough to impact the target.

A non-traditional campaign was created to capture the attention of core customers and key segments in the area not currently flying American. The campaign also had to generate buzz among a highly fragment press community.

During the week of the Shanghai service launch, 1 million fortune cookies were delivered to more than 1,500 Chinese restaurants in high-income neighborhoods and areas with high concentrations of Asian populations, each featuring American’s message and a chance to win miles/trips.

Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking staff called each restaurant to “sell-in” the program. More than 300 restaurants agreed to participate and began handing out cookies on April 5th.

Each cookie contained a URL and code, offering a chance to instantly win frequent flyer miles and trips. Also starting on April 5th, fortune cookies were served as the in-flight snack on all departing flights out of LAX for two weeks. The message, in both English and Chinese, read: “Fly AA non-stop from LAX to Shanghai beginning April 5, 2011.”

American also wanted to target people in downtown LA during their lunch hour. They secured a permit to take over the U.S. Bank Plaza the week of the new service launch, and rented out the ninth floor. They then coordinated with a local dance troupe, film crew and security personnel.

The performance was developed and rehearsed in a warehouse and on-location the night before. Prior to lunch time, everyone hid on the ninth floor, then slowly trickled into the space at noon. At 12:15, they launched into a live performance, catching the performance and consumer reactions on six cameras. The footage was edited together to create a viral video for YouTube.

Supporting media including blogs, social video and contextual placements, web, email, PR, employee engagement and advertising. A central promotional theme – LAXtraordinary – tied all the efforts consistently together.

In the first week, there were more than 25,000 fortune cookie participants, with more than 70,000 codes being entered, more than 50,000 YouTube video views and roughly 100 media placements.

Go Back to the 2011 Pro Awards


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