David Buckner, a three-million-miler, and a Diamond Delta Sky Miles Medallion member, is going to see his own face, along with the words, "Thank you, David Buckner," next time he's boarding a Delta plane.
The plaque -- which will be placed near the boarding gates -- is part of an ambitious campaign by Delta Airlines to launch its $1.4 billion Terminal 4 in New York's Kennedy airport. Created by Wieden & Kennedy New York, Delta's experiential agency of record MKG, as well as Delta's other agencies, including Digitas, DKC, Razorfish and Jackson Spalding, the campaign mixes out-of- home and print work with innovative efforts like a "pop-up space" in SoHo that will replicate the T4 experience for those not heading out to Queens any time soon. Kristen Manion, managing director-worldwide marketing communication, said that the campaign ties into Delta's overall "Keep Climbing," mission, which is all about making flying better -- and easier -- for customers. Previous innovations from the airline have included a bag tracker app, a cool "glass-bottom jet" feature that let you see what you were flying over, as well as a concept "Photon Shower" to help travelers eliminate jet lag.
A major part of the campaign is an opportunity for those in Manhattan to try out the new T4 experience without leaving the island. "T4X" is a two-floor pop-up space that will let people try out different parts of what the new terminal has to offer. Jake Brooks-Harris, lead on the Delta business at MKG, said that the idea was to create physical experience that could capture "the excitement of travel." The showcase includes a "check-in" experience that shows how fast and seamless the new terminal's kiosks will be, as well as $4 lunches (the price is a nod at T4) that mimic the food offerings available at the actual terminal.
But the most interesting part of T4X is probably its replication of SkyDeck, the airline's first-ever outdoor airport terrace. Developed by Architectural Digest and designer Thom Filicia, the terminal space will feature outdoor runway views, a roof top terrace, and all the amenities of the Delta Sky Club experience. At T4X, the MKG has recreated the Sky Deck, using digital displays to mimic the "views." "The goal here is not to be literal, but to create some of experiences," said Mr. Brooks-Harris.
Digital studio PERCH also created a ceiling-mounted miniature model of the actual terminal to be placed in T4X. The model is motion-activated; visitors can wave their hands over a certain area of the terminal, and be rewarded with projected photos, videos and explanations of the amenities.
Wieden, Delta's creative agency, meanwhile, worked on a large-scale "Thank You" campaign that will place billboards on the BQE and in the airport, thanking the airline's high-value customers and JFK employees for being patient enough to stick with them. When the team worked on the billboards, one of the difficulties was not having actual resources that could inspire the creative -- since all that was around was basically a construction zone, said Sean McLaughlin, one of the creative directors on the project. But where they were short on inspiration, they made up for by choosing to use traditional vinyl billboards that will be physically swapped out to feature different customers, instead of digital billboards, which would have been the easier choice. "This is harder, and this is more impressive," said John Parker, creative director. "If you're going to thank someone, you should go all out."
The airline had also planned on putting "Moving Boxes" installations all over New York City streets, filled with artifacts from old terminal. There was even talk of getting moving vans to physically move stuff to the new terminal, said Ms. Manion. However, due to the sensitivities surrounding the recent Boston Bombings, they decided not to create anything that might be misconstrued, she said.
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