Kudos to JetBlue for seizing a marketing victory from the jaws of a potential crisis. Just before Los Angeles transportation authorities shut down Interstate 405 (The 405), for 53 hours of repairs, Jet Blue soared onto the scene offering $4 flights from Burbank to Long Beach to bypass the traffic snarl up.
JetBlue’s social media campaign and use of the “Overthe405” hashtag definitely aided their good will, reputation and marketing. Tickets sold out within 2 hours although it’s unclear whether passengers were really in need of the flight or they were in for the ride. In the end, the traffic freeze actually ran smoother than the name “Carmageddon” implied. A quick check of media indicated dozens of local hits in LA for Jet Blue. Google news had more than 4,000 hits on a search of JetBlue and Carmageddon.
JetBlue – which took substantial PR body blows during a snow storm in 2007 — saw a PR and reputation enhancement opportunity when others saw a doom and gloom. “Our ultimate goal is to earn new customers and introduce new customers to our product,” says Alison Croyle, manager of corporate communications for JetBlue. One comment on a CNN Blog: “I think this is a great service JetBlue is giving us SoCal residents who wish to avoid this weekend’s absolute gridlock.” The tickets were peanuts; the media coverage and customer satisfaction — priceless.
How has your company or agency turned lemons into lemonade? Have you turned a potential bad situation into a positive outcome?