Going Viral – Awarding Frequent Flier Points to Jet Blue!

By Amy Kossoff Smith, Write Ideas, Inc.

Full disclosure here – I’m a journalism grad and proud of it, so I’m hardly proud that the headline of this blog post starts with an “ing” word.  That was a cardinal sin in journalism school.  But realizing that they taught us writing, broadcast, and editing on manual typewriters before the early computers came in (ooo, ahhh!), I realize, things have changed…a lot!  So why not break the rules a little in exploring this tactic…

A few years ago, “going viral” would have made you crave your flu shot or a face mask.  Now, it’s the “wild, wild web,” and social media, and marketing tactics are taking over our profession…or at least accelerating it in ways we never thought possible.  The thrill of learning new tools and tactics after doing what we do for so many years, is fabulous.  And the speed at which we can share ideas, is increasing by the second!

I saw a great example of a major corporation’s use of social media, according to a recent PR Daily News Feed:  “The airline (JetBlue) recently picked up a new creative agency, Mullen, which created four short hidden-camera videos for YouTube that show how ridiculous airline rules — like charging for extra baggage — would seem on the ground, reports The New York Times.”

Here’s one of those videos, which as of today, has had more than 54,000 views – it’s hilarious, and makes a competitive business point without you even know you’re being sold:


YouTube accounts, by the way, are free, so you, too, can have a YouTube channel up and running in the next 5 minutes!  I’m working on mine, and just added a client “show-and-tell” for a recent hot wings promotion and a Toy Story 3 Launch.


From a marketing perspective, the number of views YouTube videos get can rival any local television spot – certainly, without the guaranteed demographic targeting, but with far more potential for customer engagement via comments, forwarding (implied endorsement), tagging, and more.  I’d give JetBlue’s agency a thumbs up on this one…and hoping they get some frequent flier points along the way!

Amy Kossoff Smith is President of Write Ideas, Inc., a PR and promotions firm.  She also launched a microbrand, The MomTini Lounge, which leverages social media strategies in targeting the parenting population.  You can find her PR firm on Twitter; and recently, her puppy on Twitter.  Heck, if a dog can do it, anyone can!



Great post, Amy. I am a big fan of Jet Blue and all they do to make the airline fresh, relevant, and unique in a land of options made even more accessible via portals like Expedia, Orbitz, and Kayak. Jet Blue is a case study on using a blend of traditional advertising and Twitter and other forms of social media (like You Tube). If a viral video seems authentic, like this one, it will propel the brand like, well, jet fuel. Great post and well-written. And as for the headline, bah humbug to those stuffy folks at J-school. Blogs are the wild west, baby.


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