Through the ages, travel has been an inseparable element of romance. Delve into novels; watch movies; listen to songs — and you’ll often come across elements such as journeys, separations, bridging distances, farewells and so on. It is not uncommon for movies to have a dramatic airport scene; in fact, some love stories demand it. It is not surprising, therefore, that every year airlines pull some marketing punches on February 14.
(On a side-note, I must say I feel nostalgic for the days when an enthusiastic lover could break through barricades and rush like a madman to meet an estranged partner — today, such amorous enthusiasm would sadly be mistaken for terrorist intent.)
While there is no denying the fact that Valentine’s Day is about love, love, and love alone, what remains to be seen is how well thought out a certain initiative is, and what purpose it serves. After all, in a playing field where everyone is toying with the theme of love, how can a brand stand out? After going through a number of V-Day initiatives, we identified five airline Valentine’s Day initiatives that stood out by tackling the love theme differently.
1. Love for tradition and identity: TAP Portugal
TAP Portugal showcased a great way to build brand affinity. It projected a part of its identity that nobody else can own or copy — and added to that a nice emotional touch that resonated with the larger audience. It was a unique way to celebrate love and garner goodwill, while offering a personal touch.
2. Love for the customer — Southwest Airlines
It should be obvious that this is one love story airlines need to especially focus on — given the increasing power customers now have due to the amplifying power of social media to air grievances. Southwest smartly shows how to LUV customers back, while demonstrating their commitment to customer service.
3. Love for employees — Virgin Atlantic
By showcasing employees who fell in love while working at the airline, Virgin Atlantic not only brought real love stories to the fore that had a connection to the brand, but also ensured that it promoted its staff culture and made employees feel special to be part of the airline. By extension, it touched an emotional chord with its customers as well, especially through the hashtag #loveintheair.
4. Love for thinking differently — JetBlue
JetBlue is renowned for thinking differently about marketing. (Remember “if you wouldn’t take it on the ground, don’t take it in the air?”). As Boston faced its coldest Valentine’s Day this year, JetBlue placed a personal advertisement in newspapers directing customers to an exclusive microsite where it ran a Vday Pays to Plan contest giving out round trip tickets. By enabling love stories instead of sharing them, JetBlue ensured that it tackled V-Day from a completely different perspective.
While most airlines focused on mature love stories, Icelandic low-cost carrier directly appealed to the younger generation with its fun Valentine’s Day initiatives. Already known for its Tinder and Snapchat exploits, WOW Air invited customers to flirt with the airline and earn some love from the airline. (It also shared a Snapchat video of an inflight proposal.) By keeping a sharp focus on its target demographic, WOW Air ensured that it maintains brand consistency while leveraging the opportunity offered by V-Day to attract young customers.
Which were your favourite airline initiatives on Valentine’s Day? Tell us in the comments below or tweet to us @simpliflying.