Southwest Airlines Promo SOUTHWEST PORCH AT BRYANT PARK by Civic Entertainment Group

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Industry Airlines
Media Promo & PR
Market United States
Agency Civic Entertainment Group
Released June 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Event and Field Marketing
Product/Service: AIRLINES
Date of First Appearance: Jun 18 2009 12:00AM
Co-Chief Executive Officer: David Cohn (Civic Entertainment Group)
Co-Chief Executive Officer: Stuart Ruderfer (Civic Entertainment Group)
President: Parke Spencer (Civic Entertainment Group)
Vice President: Mark Mashaw (Civic Entertainment Group)
Director, Strategy: Betsy Spethmann (Civic Entertainment Group)
Director, Public Relations: Abby Ottenhoff (Civic Entertainment Group)
Project Manager: Laura Davison (Civic Entertainment Group)
Account Coordinator: Taylor Tate (Civic Entertainment Group)
Vice President, Communication & Strategic Outreach: Linda Rutherford (Southwest Airlines)
Senior Manager, Public Relations: Whitney Eichinger (Southwest Airlines)
Director, National Strategic Partnerships: Andy Allmann (Southwest Airlines)
Assistant Manager, National Strategic Partnerships: Melissa Dablo (Southwest Airlines)
Media placement: Experiential Venue - Live Venue - Bryant Park - 18 June 2009

Describe the objective of the promotion.
Southwest Airlines entered the highly competitive New York City market in June 2009, with its first-ever flights out of LaGuardia (LGA). Southwest offers best-in-class customer service and inexpensive fares. But New Yorkers were just not familiar with the brand and its unique personality. We believed that if New Yorkers could sample Southwest’s legendary hospitality and good humor without going to the airport, if we could bring the experience to business travelers rather than asking them to seek us out … then we’d have them hooked.

Describe how the promotion developed from concept to implementation
We wanted to make Southwest an integral part of the neighborhood in midtown Manhattan, home to 550 major corporations. So we built a porch and installed the world’s first “Outdoor Living Room” in a major city park – the Southwest Porch at Bryant Park, right in the heart of the NYC business district. A free “lounge” style seating area, complete with Adirondack chairs, rocking chairs and porch swings, a beverage/snack service by Tom Colicchio (Top Chef), and Southwest employees as hosts. The Porch is open to all New Yorkers and visitors to relax, read, or converse – no purchase required.

Describe the success of the promotion with both client and consumer including some quantifiable results
• Ticket sales 35% higher than recent launches in other markets • Direct brand interaction with 125,200 Porch visitors in first six months – and counting • 100 million media impressions – NY Times, US Weekly, NY Daily News, NY Post • “NYC’s Best New Outdoor Dining” – Food & Wine Magazine • Summer launch was so successful Southwest extended the Porch through 2011 • Industry accolades: “Southwest gets it – you can’t build affinity with megaphones and street teams. But you can build it by inviting people to join you for drinks and conversation on a relaxing, country-style porch! ” (Cohn & Wolf)

Explain why the method of promotion was most relevant to the product or service
With one gate and eight flights, Southwest couldn’t make a heavy marketing investment. But its NYC debut called for something big. Rather than traditional advertising, Southwest partnered with Bryant Park Corp. to “own” the SOUTHWEST CORNER of the Park and establish itself as a welcome neighbor to the 13,000 businesses and 325,000 business travelers in the Bryant Park area. Since New Yorkers don’t have their own porches for socialising, Southwest built one for the City to share. The Porch was Southwest’s ONLY marketing for its NYC launch. Brand awareness, loyalty and sales all hinged on the experiential strategy and execution.