Cannes Lions


JWT NEW YORK, New York / JETBLUE / 2009

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Automakers jump on a private plane to ask for bailout money. A major corporation is outed for buying a jet with taxpayer money and then shamed into returning it. A fist-pounding President Obama tells Congress that the days of private jets are over. In a landscape of fiscal irresponsibility, private air travel is a national emblem for excess among CEOs and other “C-suite executives”. So when former Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld was spotted struggling with check-in kiosks at JetBlue, the discount airline realized it had an opportunity.Known for a pulse on the cultural moment, JetBlue aimed a campaign at its new customers – the newly frugal corporate executive. With equal parts “schadenfreude” and sincerity, the “Bigwig” campaign spotlights JetBlue features by addressing all the “Bigwigs, Head Honchos, Muckety-Mucks, and anyone and everyone who might be rethinking that next trip on a private jet.” As a new generation of business leaders was being championed for flying coach, the strategy was to distinguish JetBlue as more of a “Jetting” than “Flying” option.

By making the difference more topical and relevant, JetBlue upgraded the Flying industry set offering them a superior coach experience. The campaign prompted re-consideration of JetBlue’s value as a business airline.


The campaign launched with full-page newspaper ads in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times Business sections. Addressing all the “bigwigs”, JetBlue sympathized with recent turns in fortune, and offered up its high-value, low-cost solution.Breaking news reinforced the messaging and its relevance. Right after the newsprint launch, President Obama railed against egregious corporate spending, calling out office redecorations and private jets. We immediately followed up with another newspaper ad, “Not sure if you caught the President’s speech…” We also produced three radio spots in a matter of days. With no budget for TV media, we created three viral how-to videos – a helpful tutorial series welcoming the business elite to Jet on JetBlue.We then edited the videos to create rich media banners that linked to the site. These appeared on mainstream news sites, such as CNN and MSNBC as well as populist sites such as the Huffington Post.


The consumer press response to the Bigwig campaign was tremendous – on Huffington Post, the campaign set a record for number of click-throughs. Many local and national outlets, including the Today show and CNN, aired one or two full-length video chapters. Across the country, the press lauded JetBlue as innovative and smart.

Within the company, crewmembers and pilots reported being e-inspired, embracing the campaign with pride. The website ( received 100K hits on the first day. Twitter helped to drive even more exposure. JetBlue set the bar for corporate presence on Twitter and as a result, the Bigwig campaign (from print to video) was given a forum and exponential reach via significant tweets.JetBlue reinforced its unique position among competitors – Southwest doesn't offer perks such as leather seats and free DIRECTV ®, while Virgin America and other legacy airlines are catering to the “old-fashioned” bigwigs with their upper and first-class service.

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