JetBlue reminds a divided America to ‘reach across the aisle’

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

As the U.S. election season rolls onward, the rhetoric has become nastier and lines become increasingly divided, JetBlue’s latest ad is a tongue-in-cheek reprimand of the increasingly polarized American political environment and aims to show how far compromise and consensus can take you instead.

Reach out across the aisle
At the end of February the airline organized what it called a ‘social experiment’, offering 150 unsuspecting passengers the chance to travel on any of its 20 domestic or international destinations for free. But before they could take off on the trip, there was one catch – JetBlue asked strangers on the plane to “reach across the aisle” to make an unanimous decision, meaning every single passenger had to agree on the destination before their six-hour flight from Boston landed in Phoenix.

A four-minute video (over 1 million views) documenting the micro event shows passengers discuss – should they go domestic or international? What if they didn’t have passports? –  and vote, with some passengers even taking to the intercom to espouse the merits of their favourite destination.

The options were eventually narrowed down to Costa Rica and Turks and Caicos Islands, with Costa Rica emerging as the winner after 90 minutes. As the announcer says at the end of the video, “If people compromise and come together, all parties can win.”

Bigger conversation
“JetBlue is one of those brands that is very comfortable being involved with the bigger conversation,” MullenLowe executive creative director Tim Vaccarino told Adweek. “This being one of the most polarizing political climates in history, we saw an opportunity to make a comment about what’s truly possible when we all work together.”

“We’ve seen so much news coverage lately that paints the picture of a society becoming increasingly polarized and politicians incapable of working together,” said Elizabeth Windram, the airline’s director of brand management and advertising. “This video is our way of questioning that assumption.”

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