JetBlue Celebrates New Route With Free Popup Experience in NYC
JetBlue has launched a new seasonal route between New York-JFK and Palm Springs (PSP), and they decided to use some unconventional advertising to spread the word. The airline launched a two-front marketing campaign around a “jet age" theme, harkening back to the golden age of travel.
First, the airline unveiled a special retro livery on an Airbus A320 which will fly the first roundtrip between JFK and PSP, researching through photo archives to imagine what the paint scheme would have looked like if JetBlue had existed in the 1960s. In addition, JetBlue opened an immersive time-warp event in the form of popup travel agency in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood. It’s a two-day store front featuring an interactive experience with actors, a detailed set, and a raffle for the chance to win free tickets on the new route.
The travel agency experience runs recurring sessions throughout its open hours and takes about thirty minutes per session. As you walk in, you pick a lottery ball with a number on it. The wacky "owner" of the agency greets you and introduces you to a travel agent, who is also playing a quirky 1960s character. As you chat with the agent he or she type up an official raffle ticket with your name and lottery number (on a period-correct typewriter), before you drop the ball in a lottery spinner. Then, while everyone else in the shop gets their tickets, you have the chance to explore.
The JetBlue marketing team outdid themselves in terms of printing collateral. A four-page newspaper, complete with horoscopes and an advice column, features articles celebrating the new route and announcing the opening of the travel agency – and the subsequent closing 48 hours later. After all, this is only a two-day project. A number of retro-style fliers have information about the Palm Springs accommodations, restaurants, and attractions, and a handful of actual magazines from 1966 adorn the tables – fantastic sourcing job. Props to JetBlue for including the real magazines, including ones with slightly less-peachy articles and covers. There's some JetBlue swag available too, including playing cards, luggage tags, and pins. After you explore, the winners are drawn.
Even if you don't score a free trip, attendees can snag tickets at a promotional rate of $66 for travel between January 4 and March 29. Hurry, though – tickets must be booked by 11/13.
The travel agency was a fun event, which JetBlue is promoting entirely over social media. In fact, it wasn't even included in their press release about the new plane livery. While that may seem a little counterintuitive for an advertising project, the session I went to was well attended by about 40 people. Just a few more would have gotten pretty crowded. The actors played their characters well, and everyone in my group were all into it. At the end, the cast takes 5-10 minutes to reset, and starts all over again.
The JetBlue Time Travel Agency is open again today from 12-8 p.m at 138 Wooster Street in SoHo. Stop by and see if you win a free ticket!