Austrian Air tours New York with ‘cafe-to-go’ Twitter truck, serving free coffee

Austrian Airlines is one of the smaller national carriers in Europe, serving just 10 intercontinental destinations from its hub in Vienna. The Lufthansa-owned carrier flies directly to New York and Washington D.C from the Austrian capital. To promote the airline in these two cities, Austrian Air just held a ‘Taste of Europe’ campaign, which highlighted the café and coffee heritage of Vienna. 

From June 1st to June 10th (2010), an Austrian Airlines ‘Café-to-Go’ truck toured the steets of New York City, serving free coffee. Taking a cue from popular food trucks such as Kogi BBQ and Coolhaus in Los Angeles, locations were announced via Twitter. Viennese coffee classics like Wiener Mélange, Einspanner and Kleiner Brauner were prepared in the truck and served to people passing by. Vienna is known for its traditional coffee-houses and Austrian Air also has a ‘Viennese coffee house’ service onboard its flights.

During the same 10 days, Austrian also toured Washington D.C. on a fleet of scooters. Drivers made unexpected ‘landings’ at busy street corners to offer pedestrians Viennese chocolates. 

The free coffee and chocolates aren’t Austrian’s first guerilla marketing campaign in the U.S. In August 2009, Smart cars in Austrian Airlines livery and sporting a little airplane-style tail section drove the streets of New York and Washington to promote the carrier’s business class service. Drivers were dressed like an airline pilot and handed out free bottles of cold water to passersby. 

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