By now, you have probably heard about the arrival of United Airlines’ new offspring, Ted. The new low-cost flavor will be available in Denver and fly to nine destinations around the country. The better story is how everyone found out about Ted.
People around Denver started getting flowers and pizzas from someone named Ted. This report in the Denver Post is from last Wednesday (Nov. 6th) as the buzz was growing. It details some of the other Ted sightings from fans at the Nuggets game chanting “Go Ted” to town criers on street corners with signs saying “I’m not Ted”.
This is a great summary of the campaign from Business 2.0 [subscription needed]:
Ted promises to be a textbook case in how an old, stodgy company can revitalize its image through innovative marketing. The key ingredient in this successful guerilla campaign was drama. United dripped out its mysterious message without ever tipping its hand — a crafty approach designed to create buzz and curiosity in even the most disinterested consumer. (Who, after all, doesn’t like a mystery?) So one day, out of the blue, a Ted marching band appears in downtown Denver. “Ted is a native” bumper stickers show up on cars and SUVs around town. Taxi drivers begin wearing “Ted” baseball caps. The next day a billboard blares, “Knock knock. Who’s there? Ted.” Other signs and posters follow with slogans like “Ted is fun” and “One word: Ted.” Then someone named Ted buys lunch for everyone in a local Chipotle restaurant. As the sightings pile up, each is detailed at www.meetted.com, a website that, by deliberately playing it coy, itself adds to the overall mystery. A buzz ensues, media outlets pick up on the story, and suddenly, United has made a splashy entrance into a new market.
The campaign was brilliant. I think it shows the importance of company names in the creation of brands. It shows how effective word of mouth and viral marketing can be, especially in small geographic areas.
Marketing has done their job and delivered the audience.
I hope the rest of “product” is as creative. WSJ’s article said reservation line is going to greet with, “Hello, this is Ted.”
I think that is a good start.