Jetblue Airbus A320 Photo: JetBlue

MIAMI – JetBlue (B6) has begun exploring post-pandemic marketing strategies, including a change in advertising agencies, as a manner of combatting the losses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A B6 spokeswoman said, “our agency RFI will help us evaluate which resources can most efficiently address changing customer preferences and the new travel landscape as we emerge from this crisis”.

Many airlines along with B6, including Southwest Airlines (WN) and United Airlines (UA), are having to explore different, often one-off, marketing tactics with passenger volume 65% below year-ago levels according to Airlines for America (A4A).

JetBlue Airbus A320 Reg: N598JB at FLL Photo: © Max Taubman – @maximumaviation

A Costly Service, A Costly Year

Airlines in the US spent USD$92m on adds in the first half of 2020 compared to USD$159m in the first half of 2019 as B6 faces the need to get people flying while achieving cost savings.

In a document to ad agencies, B6 said “As JetBlue looks to continue to bring humanity to air travel and figure out how to bring customers back to flying, we need to modernize and future-proof the JetBlue marketing model to help us drive JetBlue’s business objectives with holistic, efficient and integrated solutions that are culturally (and when appropriate locally) relevant”.

Furthermore, B6 stated that “scrappy brand-led activations and a fun and unconventional brand personality helped JetBlue truly stand out” while with time “the brand has lost a bit of its personality and has shifted more towards launching one-off tactics.”

JetBlue Embraer E190 Reg: N304JB at FLL Photo: © Max Taubman – @maximumaviation

Out with the Old, in with the New

Previous marketing strategies, done with the help of the MullenLowe Group for 11 years, of late had while allowing B6 to stand out as a brand also leaned towards directing travelers away from the frequent flyer programs of competitors.

Such strategies included in 2013 a “frequent flier” pigeon highlighting customer service at other airlines as poor compared to B6, a point reinforced in 2019 with the “Just Alright Doesn’t Fly Here” ad campaign.

With passengers now wanting a sense of security from COVID-19 while travelling, Peter Knapp of branding agency Landor and Fitch says airline marketing has entered an “era for being dull and boring and trustworthy.”