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Cebu Pacific is the largest low cost
airline in the Philippines and one of the
largest LCCs in the region.
When the country was hit by typhoon
Yolanda / Haiyan their facilities at many
airports were devastated, but the airline
did not stop and set out to help those
The change in their normally fareoriented communications was striking.
Step 1: Listen
The first thing the airline did right was listen, and as a consequence it
decided to waive all excess baggage fees and pledged to
accommodate anything that could physically be loaded on the planes
headed for the affected areas. The announcement was made via an
update of their Facebook cover image.
The airline then proceeded to keep users
informed of any development and also
explained what it was doing to keep its
operations going. Image updates and
explanations were posted regularly on the
airline’s Facebook page.
A striking difference
The Philippines are one of the
countries with the highest rates of
social media usage and during the
disaster relief social networks became
one of the main communication
Somehow however the country’s main
airline Philippine Airlines, only put up a
single post about the issue and then
continued to promote its fares and
offers as if nothing had happened.
A striking difference
Only time will tell how the two
brands will be affected by their
reaction to this tragedy but,
learning from past experience,
we can say with a degree of
certainty that the Cebu Pacific
will see its caring attitude
Some signs are already
showing in the user’s reactions
and in the pages’ stats. Sales
Likes and PTAT changes since the
Natural disasters like the recent typhoon in the Philippines don’t usually
give much warning yet some airlines still manage to react and create
initiatives to help out. One of the most remarkable ones we’ve seen in
recent times has been AirAsia’s #ToPHwithLove
The initiative was
spearheaded by the AirAsia
Foundation that set out to
collect money and goods for
the relief effort.
The airline also provided
free seats for relief workers
and free shipment of
One of the most interesting sides of the
campaign, however, was its usage of a
dedicated tag and very subtle branding.
The brand was only present in the “Air
Asia Foundation” in the colour and font
of the letters and in the two characters
in the bottom right corner.
The tag does not contain any branding
but is unique to AirAsia and its sister
companies. This ultimately means that
any tag search will end up on an AirAsia
South African Airways: #MandelaDeeds
To honor Nelson Mandela and
his legacy every year people
from all over the world
celebrate his birthday in the
Nelson Mandela international
As part of the celebrations
many take part in the
“Mandela Deeds” and pledge
to dedicate 67 minutes of their
time to help others.
South African Airways leveraged the “Mandela Deeds” by offering the
chance to win a trip to those who pledged their time to the initiative.
When super-storm Sandy hit
the east coast of the United
States, many animal
shelters faced problems due
to the large influx of pets
displaced by the storm and
the damage to some of their
Many animals needed to be
moved and Southwest
Airlines stepped in to help.
Long standing partnership
The airline used its partnership with SeaWorld to organize the
initiative and was able to organize a special flight to bring the pets to
their new home on the west coast.
The power of puppies
Pets, especially young
ones, always seems to
have a special appeal with
the public both on and offline.
This initiative, despite its
quick organization, spread
fast through traditional
news channels with social
media improving the
airline’s brand and image.
American low cost airlines seem
to be extremely keen to capitalize
on cuteness and Virgin America
has even developed its own tag
#VXBark to accompany all its pet
In order to liaison with its four
legged passengers it also hired an
official pet liaison named Boo, a
dog famous on-line for having
been named the world’s cutest
Every year the airline helps animal shelters to
transfer Chihuahuas from areas where there
are too many to places where they are in
greater demand and are more likely to be
adopted. The pets are flown in the main cabin
of a Virgin American plane and even walk on
the red carpet before boarding.
Updates on the trip were shared constantly throughout the trip via social
media and sometimes used to highlight features like in-flight Wi-Fi. To
help with the adoptions the airline also provided a short “bio” of each
dog in its Facebook page.
Special offers and donations
The airline used the occasion to
promote some specially
discounted flights and pledged
donations for every flight
booked during the “operation
A spontaneous initiative
Sometimes the best
initiatives are not created
as a response to a disaster
or designed in the
marketing departments of
airlines but they originate
from their front-line staff.
In this case the initiative
was started by a flight
attendant who heard of a
group of underprivileged
children in India and
decided to make them
The initiative allowed the kids to learn to dance Bollywood style and
even perform in front of the cameras. During the process they also
flew for the first time and, of course, made many people smile.
To raise awareness of breast cancer and raise money for research,
several airlines paint part of their planes or logos in pink. One airline
however seems to be particularly good at spreading the news and
involving its followers on social media.
Name the (pink) plane
Brazil’s Azul not only used the occasion to paint several planes pink
but also decided to ask users to decide the name of its special
plane. In doing so it also gained considerable social media exposure
for its brand and the initiative.
Not just pink planes
The airline went a step further and
also changed the colour of its flight
crew’s uniforms and created a
dedicated tag #OtubroRosaNaAzul
That roughly translates to “pink
October with Azul”
Also pink but going beyond
Delta Airlines also joined the pink month as part of its larger
campaign to support cancer research.
Earlier this year the airline created an app that allowed users to light
(virtual) luminarias in honor or in memory of someone who had cancer.
Each time a luminaria was lit a 1 dollar donation toward cancer research
Day of hope
During this campaign the airline also set up a “day of hope” in over
70 airports worldwide to celebrate the 100th birthday of the American
United Airlines: Miles and donations
An interesting link
Over the past year United Airlines
has been using social media to
actively promote several initiatives
that link air miles to donations. In
the case of the recent typhoon in
the Philippines it awarded users
miles for their donations.
The initiative encouraged users to
donate but also allowed the airline
to increase the visibility of its
frequent flyer program.
Food for miles
In a separate initiative the airline
took part in the hunger action
month and allowed users to
donate miles to the Feeding
Moreover the airline’s staff
volunteered at food banks in eight
SouthWest Airlines: Adopt a pilot
Every year Southwest
Airlines invites schools
throughout the USA to
“adopt” one of their pilots.
The “adopted” pilot will
volunteer his time for a
period of 4 weeks and
Keeping kids in schools
The objective of the initiative is to keep kids in
school and motivate them to pursue their
education further. The kids also receive
postcards and other messages from the pilot they
adopt while he’s “on the road”, and a competition
is held to design the tie that will be worn by all
For more case-studies:
Helping airlines & airports engage travelers profitably