Chase Card Services, a division of JPMorgan Chase & Co., introduced the United MileagePlus Explorer Card in July 2011 and wanted to promote the new card in a big way. Source Marketing was charged with generating awareness through both paid and earned media, as well as creating a rich consumer experience with select United hub markets. The idea was to draw attention to the card and emphasize and support its value proposition and key benefits, which enhance the cardmember’s United Airlines travel experience with, among other things, first checked bag free, priority boarding and United Club passes.
The agency created a life-size baggage carousel, replete with the red light flashing, a moving conveyor belt, and a seemingly endless stream of bags with the MileagePlus Explorer Card logo coming out. Each bag contained a prize, including United Club passes and exclusive weekend getaways. Ten winners received 1 million MileagePlus bonus miles.
Qualified consumers (US residents, 21+) received a baggage claim ticket at the entrance and were invited to step up to the carousel and claim a bag. Current cardmembers were granted “Priority Boarding,” allowing them faster access to the carousel.
Over the course of five weeks, The Baggage Claim, a two-day event, traveled in a customized tractor-trailer to four key United hubs: The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles, Justin Herman Plaza at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Pioneer Court at Tribune Tower in Chicago and Union Station in Washington, DC. Appearances by Team Visa Olympic athletes Summer Sanders, Dan Jansen and Kerri Walsh help attract a wider audience.
A mix of geo-targeted media vehicles was used to drive awareness, including email to United frequent flyers in event markets, local radio and newspaper, street teams and publicity. Car sales consultant Tom Stuker, who recently flew his 10 millionth United mile, was hired for a press tour at places including The Talk (NBC Chicago), Inside SoCal (Los Angeles) and Eye on the Bay (San Francisco).
The Baggage Claim event was so popular that United expanded the number of prizes awarded in each market. In total, almost 21,000 bags and over 51 million miles were handed out, and the event generated more than 35 million impressions in the four markets, including 22 million earned impressions to drive awareness for the new card.