Campaign targets three groups

Proteus CommunicationsIn order for Executive Airlines to break through the headlines Air Canada and Canadian Airlines International are making, it will need a big splash with the media.In order to sustain its business, it will need an on-going plan that targets...

Proteus Communications

In order for Executive Airlines to break through the headlines Air Canada and Canadian Airlines International are making, it will need a big splash with the media.

In order to sustain its business, it will need an on-going plan that targets three key types of people:

The first is the flyer, the person we actually put in the seat.

Second is the travel arranger – the flyer’s assistant, travel agent or company travel department.

Third is the ceo, on whose carpet the authors have been called a few times for flying Executive Airlines’ type of service without authorization.

What we have chosen to focus on is the networking aspect of Executive Airlines.

It should truly be a club in which people of similar stature and ambition exchange ideas, experience and business cards.

The media

The 200 most influential executives in Canada will each receive a personalized invitation to attend an address by the only person who could get them all, voluntarily, into the same room at the same time – Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

The former prime minister will be speaking in the Press Club in Ottawa on Canada’s future and its place in the 21st century.

This is not a speaking engagement for which tickets can be bought. This is invitation-only, non-transferrable, a symbol of the executive’s place in the business community.

The chief executive officers will be flown to Ottawa from Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto on the inaugural flights of Executive Airlines.

In addition to establishing the networking aspects of the airline, it will also give the executive a cachet and prestige that could not be bought any other way.

Trudeau’s performance also sets up the ceos for the idea of videotaped speeches by top newsmakers which Executive Airlines will offer during flights.

The flyer

What does the flyer want from Executive Airlines?

Comfort, convenience, the ability to make air time productive, and not only value-added, but of increased value.

With hotel occupancy down, now is the time for Executive Airlines to make deals with select hotels to offer suites for the price of regular rooms.

For the same price, the business traveller now gets added comfort and prestige.

Air miles. It is going to be pretty hard to run an airline without them in this era.

But give the flyer something he or she can use frequently, something that gives added value to the unseen partner in the decision-making process – the spouse – the partner who toils at home.

Each time the flyer builds up six flights with Executive Airlines, the spouse may join them in their suite, free.

The travel arranger

For the people who book the flight, we have a lottery.

Every time the travel arranger books a flight, their name goes into the lottery. Once a year, an Executive Airlines jet will be rerouted to take the winners and a guest each to New York for a weekend.

As with any lottery, the more you play, the better your chances of winning.

The CEO

Ah yes. The one in the corner office who wants to know why senior employees have chosen an airline which is charging them more to fly than business class on a competitor’s flight.

The excuse that the airline flights afford the chance to ‘network’ is not going to cut the mustard. Nor is the free flight for spouses.

What will impress the person at the top and the financial officer is that every time a client flies Executive Airlines, the flight is credited to a company bank of air miles.

‘So, you see, chief, not only do I get more work done on the plane, but with the air miles for the company, anyone here can use the free flight after 50,000 miles.

‘And if you do all the arithmetic, which I know is your forte, jb, it’s actually not far off business class at all.’

How to reach these people?

Well, the initial pr push for the inaugural flights should get things off to a start. But what is the one great idea for a media buy that will really give you the best chance to fill the planes?

Executive Airlines does not appeal to only one type of person. It appeals to a variety of people from small, medium and large companies. How to reach each of these audiences separately?

Building on the networking theme, we have developed a direct mail campaign that focusses on the people who will be in Executive Airlines’ in-flight videos – people such as Henry Kissinger and Tip O’Neill, whose appearance in the videos speaks volumes about the type of traveller targetted.

The media buy

The feeling has been that flying Executive Airlines is much like joining a club. It makes a statement about the flyer. Business travellers have a chance to associate with their peers.

What better way to get people to join this club than to talk to people who are already in a club – the Empire Club, the Canadian Club.

These are people who understand the importance of networking. There are hundreds of clubs in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver with members there partly (sometimes exclusively) for the purpose of expanding their business contacts.

Just as well you already had the name Executive Airlines. Some wags among us were lobbying for ‘The Air Club for Men.’

Well, there you have it. What we feel is a campaign that is integrated, innovative, relevant to Executive Airlines’ audience, and, most important, will drive (to paraphrase the company’s own line) its business up.

Proteus Communications is a Toronto-based ad agency.