JetBlue Aims to Lift Fliers Above Industry's Hassles

Andrea Spiegel, VP-Marketing, Explains the Airline's New 'Happy Jetting' Theme

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NEW YORK ( -- As tempers flare over airlines' delays, fare hikes and fewer free services, JetBlue wants to put a more pleasant spin on air travel with its new marketing theme, "Happy Jetting."
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One of the components of JWT New York's 'Happy Jetting" campaign for JetBlue is a book explaining the concept of jetting versus flying to influencers and the media.

The move runs counter to the carrier's rivals, which have been directing their focus internally to investigate merger opportunities, cut costs, deal with spiraling fuel prices and generally avoid bankruptcy. Yet Andrea Spiegel, VP-marketing at JetBlue, said while the airline is dealing with the same problems as its competitors, the "need for optimism and a positive alternative in this negative category is more important than ever."

A $15 million campaign is designed to differentiate JetBlue from its competitors by calling what it does "jetting" as opposed to flying. "Happy Jetting" rolled out this week with ad installations in New York's Union Square subway station, and on May 12 the airline will debut its first-ever national TV spot. Other components of the campaign, created by JWT, New York, include outdoor; a microsite ( launching later this week; and the distribution of approximately 2,000 hardcover books explaining the concept of jetting vs. flying to influencers and the media. A mini version of the book will be distributed to consumers via numerous guerilla-marketing efforts.

In addition, the push involves an e-mail campaign and a web marketing initiative on sites such as The New York Times, Trip Advisor and Yahoo. JetBlue will also target bloggers with the help of social-networking site Thrillist, offering them and other influencers the chance to "jet" to Las Vegas for a 24-hour "Vegas experience."

Ms. Spiegel recently spoke with Ad Age about the campaign and the state of the airline industry.

Ad Age: How does this campaign differ from others you've done?
Andrea Spiegel
Andrea Spiegel

Andrea Spiegel: This is much more than just an ad campaign, it's a brand campaign because it speaks to what the core of JetBlue is. It's executable across every touch point for crew members and customers. [It's also] the most integrated internally and externally. We've brought to life this new world of jetting internally for crew members through training programs, screensavers and posters all over the company.

Ad Age: How long will it run and what is the next phase?

Ms. Spiegel: The campaign will run throughout the spring, take a summer hiatus and be back in the fall. We see the campaign running throughout the year and the "jetting" platform something we can use for many years. [It's] something that will lead JetBlue into the next chapter of the airline.

Phase two is still in the works but it will be focused on the new terminal being finished at JFK in New York. We are nicknaming it our Jetport, and that will be a big part of our story in the fall when it's scheduled to open. Then we'll have the tactical phase that will include programs like "Jet Out of Town" [last-minute fare-reduction deals] and Jetaways, the new name of our package-deal program [including hotels], as well as Jettitude, a program we are incorporating into our internal training for customer service. We're really extending this world of "jetting" in as many places as we can.

Ad Age: Why switch the tagline from "Sincerely JetBlue" to "Happy Jetting"?

Ms. Spiegel: Competition has increased, and a lot of our competitors took credit for what we pioneered eight years ago, so we felt the need to be more proactive. Jetting is about value, it's about a fair price for a great core quality experience, and as the economy continues to be a challenge, we know our customers and potential customers are going to seek value more than ever. So it's even more relevant than it was a few months ago when we conceived this idea.

Ad Age: You're relying heavily on media when many airlines are cutting budgets and relying more on customer relationship marketing, the web and new media. Why?

Ms. Spiegel: We do a lot of CRM and e-mail communication. That's at the core of how we communicate with customers, and the campaign will be a combination of the two. But to break through and seed this idea of jetting versus flying, we knew we had to do it in a big way. [New media] is also extremely relevant for us because we get 80% of our bookings through

Ad Age: Are you addressing consumer concerns about the cost of travel and the image of the industry in this campaign?

Ms. Spiegel: That's more of a PR strategy for us. As we get into the local level and do local marketing, we will develop messaging that is appropriate and our regional marketing teams will execute that. In many cases it is cheaper to fly than drive, and we will certainly highlight that.

Ad Age: What do you think the industry has to do to turn things around?

Ms. Spiegel: It's a difficult time right now and fuel costs are spiraling out of control, so the industry has to correct itself and pulling capacity out is an important part of that equation. The industry has to start putting the focus back on the customer because no one really does it. The turnaround is on the horizon.

Ad Age: What's the company's position on the mergers and merger talks?

Ms. Spiegel: There is going to be major consolidation and it's necessary to a certain extent. But it's JetBlue's plan to hunker down, stay the course, come out the other side and grow organically.

Ad Age: Are you entertaining the thought of a possible merger?

Ms. Spiegel: No, we have been very public about our intent to grow organically and go it alone.

Ad Age: Do you feel you have recovered from the ice-storm incident of February 2007?

Ms. Spiegel: We absolutely feel we have. Nothing is ever perfect, but we are proud of the way our operational side of our business has turned around. We have done some important things like the Customer Bill of Rights, so we are thrilled with where we are, and that's another reason why we feel confident that the [Happy Jetting] message and positioning works for JetBlue.
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