In an effort to maximise exposure of the fact that statistics collated by ACARS indicated that it was the nation's most punctual domestic airline in 2013, Jetstar last week hosted an online game that gave players a chance to win $200 flight vouchers.
Conceptualised by Barnes, Catmur and Friends, the game was hosted on a now-unavailable microsite (jetstarontimechallenge.co.nz) and required entrants to react faster than others playing at the same time. (Ikon looked after the media side of things for the campaign).
"In the game, seats on an aircraft were highlighted at random and the first person to click on the highlighted seat won a $200 Jetstar flight voucher. We gave away 120 vouchers – so $24,000 worth of Jetstar flight vouchers [in total]. It only ran last week on Wednesday for one hour at lunchtime (12 to 1pm) and exceeded expectations in terms of popularity," says Jetstar's corporate comms manager Phil Boeyen.
Prior to running the online game, Jetstar also took out a series of full-page newspaper ads to encourage visitors to register and play on 9 April.
(Image credit: The KiwiGlobeTrotter)
And this strategy when combined with online promotional efforts seems to have paid off. During the one-hour course of the game, Jetstar's servers became so inundated with visitors that browsers lagged to the extent that the airline's social media team found it necessary to release a Facebook statement encouraging users to refresh their browsers.
"More than 14,000 consecutive users took part in the lunch-time challenge, which we understand is a new record for an online promotion of this kind in the New Zealand market," says Liz McCarthy, head of marketing and PR for the Jetstar Group.
"The On-time Challenge was the launch activity for a wider campaign promoting Jetstar’s 2013 achievement in becoming New Zealand’s most punctual domestic airline and our ongoing focus on reliability," she adds.
According to the research provided by ACARS, Jetstar was found to be the most punctual airline for eight of last year's 12 months and also finished joint top in another month.
Punctuality is determined by whether or not the domestic flight has taken off within 10 minutes of the scheduled time, and in this regard Jetstar recorded an overall success rate of 83 percent in 2013 (up from 72 percent recorded in 2012).
Boeyen explains that ACARS independently provides the flight time statistics to Jetstar, and this information is then published on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NSX). He says “Jetstar compared its 2013 ACARS on-time results with competitor data published to the NZX,” but adds that all statistics are provided independently by each airline, which means that they are not audited.
"Some airlines are obligated to share their statistics with the NSX, but we don't have to. We simply do it because the statistics generally come as good news for Jetstar," he says.
In addition to using the game to promote this win, Jetstar has also launched a new TVC voiced over by 7 Days comedian Jeremy Elwood.
Given that Jetstar has traditionally served as a punching bag for the nation's comedians, who take every opportunity available to aim satirical barbs at the airline's policies and mishaps, this move has come as a bit of a surprise.
"We’ve got a sense of humour when it comes to 7 Days and we wanted a voice that delivered the message with the right timing, so it was just a matter of the best voice for the job," says Boeyen on why Elwood was chosen for the spot.
And this sense of humour is definitely reflected in the ad, which incorporates self-deprecating elements to acknowledge that people might be taken aback that Jetstar has been acknowledged as New Zealand's most punctual airline over the course of 2013.
While the ad concedes that Jetstar doesn't have the best reputation in the industry, it also reminds viewers that Jetstar has a side that isn't often presented in the media.
In fact, it seems that Jetstar might slowly be progressing toward the brutally honest approach that was suggested in this faux Ryanair ad from last year.
The campaign has also been extended to the outdoor channel via a series of billboards situated in the city and along the motorway on the way to the Auckland airport. The inner-city billboards feature the phrase 'nobody likes delays,' while the three situated along the highway break the phrase down so that one word appears on each of the billboards in succession.