A Brazilian cancer hospital started a social media campaign to get its local airport re-opened -- and looks to have succeeded. Oncology center Hospital do Cancer de Barretos is located in a remote area which patients from across the country previously had to travel to by bus. However, there was a local Barretos airport, which only served private flights. So the campaign, by WMcCann, encouraged supporters of the hospital, as well as celebrities, to "check-in" and book a seat on a fictional flight from the airport in a Facebook-based campaign to get the airport re-opened for commercial airlines.
The campaign kicked off with a call to action from actor Reynaldo Gianecchini as the announcer of a video posted on Flight Against Cancer website. This invited internet users to check in the flight against cancer and send to airlines a request for the creation of a scheduled flight. More than 252,000 people booked a seat on the virtual plane, and more than 80,000 emails were sent directly to airlines, with 62.7 million impacts on social networks.
In March, Passaredo Airlines carried out a symbolic flight between SÃ£o Paulo and Barretos to show its support. Brazil's Federal Government has now included the Barretos airport in its Regional Aviation Plan and initiated studies to conduct modernization work sometime this year. Some of the children from the hospital feature in a new film, in which they pose as an airline crew, to give special thanks for the support.