JetBlue Airways promo pits free flights against Instagram memories

The airline is asking users to delete their Instagram photos in exchange for a chance to win a year’s worth of travel. The online buzz has taken off, but will potential customers get on board?

Clean slate, free flights. That’s how JetBlue Airways is hoping to win customers.

A new giveaway, part of its “All You Can Jet” campaign, offers the winner a year of free flights on the airline. To enter, you only have to delete all your Instagram photos.

Wait, what?

Yes, it’s a high-stakes investment. Social media is, after all, the currency of the internet.

Users evaluate themselves against their peers over how many “likes,” retweets, shares and comments they can generate from online readers. These metrics power business models for media companies and marketing firms.

JetBlue wants to see just how important those Instagram photos are to its customers.

The company also pulled its own social media stunt in conjunction with the campaign, deleting its own Instagram photos in favor of only three posts hyping the contest.

The Instagram bio also offers links to pages that list top JetBlue destinations. Each experience has been recommended by an Instagram user, with a link to that user’s page.

The airline also tweeted out the event:

The giveaway has intrigued some users:

Others are on board with the promotion:

The move has generated buzz from the airline’s online followers:

Deleting your Instagram photos isn’t a new stunt. Actress and model Blake Lively saw big success with the move last year to promote her latest movie.

The promotion is racking up plenty of traditional media hits.

Here are three takeaways from JetBlue’s successful attempt at creating online chatter:

1. Tap into cultural hot topics.

The chance to win a year of free flights is exciting for customers, but asking them to delete their cherished photos makes the event newsworthy. News organizations have been closely looking at society’s relationship to social media platforms over the last couple of years, and recent scandals with online platforms (notably Facebook) have forced everyone to reconsider their posting habits.

Instagram is tremendously popular with many users, so asking them to delete their images might be a real sacrifice. The quandary was difficult enough to get coverage from many traditional media outlets.

When planning a contest or giveaway, consider how you can tie your offering into current conversations in the national news. A successful twist might land you in the headlines.

2. Offer a tantalizing prize.

Would the promotion have created as much buzz if the winner received only a one-way ticket to Barrow, Alaska?

When selecting a prize, make sure it’s worth the effort of entering. Otherwise, no one will bother, and your promotion will fall flat.

Beki Winchel has some thoughts on what makes a good prize:

Pens, pins and other trinkets might work well for trade shows and conferences, but consumers won’t want to give you their information unless there’s a chance they’ll win something they actually want.

Consider offering a gift basket of your most popular products or, if you’re an online retailer, credit to spend on anything within your store that the winners wish. You can also give away trips and services that tie in with either your organization or your contest messaging, such as a family vacation, spa services or groceries.

Cash is also a popular (and versatile) prize—and you can use the allure of currency while showcasing your brand. Give away gift certificates or prepaid gift cards that you can use like credit cards that has your organization’s name, logo and colors on it.

You can also partner with other organizations to boost your contest’s visibility and offer additional prizes. Whatever route you take, select items that seem equal to the amount of work you’re having your audience do to enter (filling out a short form vs. entering a photo contest and racking up referrals, for example). Also remember that the bigger and more plentiful the prizes, the more enticing your contest will be.

3. Continually push your giveaway.

Don’t rely on traditional media to get the word out. Create posts from your social media channels that can be easily shared. Offer graphics and images that media outlets can run on their sites. If your target is a TV audience, high-quality b-roll footage and a tight media package are essential.

What do you think of JetBlue’s promotion, PR Daily readers?

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