THE TASTE OF HOME by Mediavest New York for Continental Airlines

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THE TASTE OF HOME

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Industry Airlines
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Mediavest New York
Released March 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Ambient Media: Small Scale
Advertiser: CONTINENTAL AIRLINES
Product/Service: AIRLINE
Date of First Appearance: Mar 2 2009 12:00AM
Entrant Company: MEDIAVEST, New York, USA
Senior Vice President/Group Client Director: Jennifer Karayeanes (MediaVest)
Senior Vice President/Connections Director: Bud Follett (MediaVest)
Vice President/Associate Connections Director: Jennifer Byrnes (MediaVest)
Connections Manager: Cyd Shinbaum (MediaVest)
Senior Vice President/Director of OOH Investment & Activation: Norm Chait (MediaVest)
Activation Group Director OOH: Winnie Chin (MediaVest)
Activation Manager: Beth Schissler (MediaVest)
Media placement: Branded Bun Sleeves - Chinese Bakeries - 02/03/2009

Results and Effectiveness
On March 26, 2009, seats on the Boeing 777 were full, as were the seats on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The new route was profitable within a few months, beating industry averages and analysts’ predictions. It became Continental’s 2nd most profitable flight globally, proving that Chinese really did miss the taste of hometown the most.

Creative Execution
The typical conclusion would have been branded fortune cookies and food cartons. But, we knew that sweet-and-sour chicken was an Americanised-stereotype, not a true representation of their proud culture. We needed to find the authentic, underground eats and speak to our consumers in their native tongue. Buns—steaming-hot, filled with pork, shrimp, or vegetables—are the most popular comfort food sold in NYC’s China Town. We created the first branded, in-language bun sleeve to serve them in. One month leading up to the inaugural flight, when Chinese bought a taste of home (a pork bun) it was wrapped in a sleeve with Chinese characters that read “The taste of hometown; it is what you missed the most,” and alerted them to the new flight. MediaVest created a network of 20 Chinese bakeries and worked with vendors to customise a sleeve for the size and shape of the tasty treats.

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
On March 26, 2009 at 3:45 pm, Continental Airlines launched the first and only daily non-stop flight from New York City to Shanghai. Pressure for success was compounded by 5 consecutive quarterly losses and dwindling passengers per plane. With just $100k to spend on media and fate of the route depending on it, Continental needed to innovate beyond the traditional newspaper announcement and break into the hearts and minds of consumers. Our target was Chinese immigrants. They travelled to New York for economic opportunities, but left their families and childhood memories behind. For them, nothing triggers nostalgia better than the taste and smell of home. Our strategy was to give them the flavour of family meals and let them know that an end to their heartache was just a short 14 hours and 30 minutes away.