Brussels Airlines’ Flight Ball campaign lets real-world aircraft play virtual soccer

Brussels Airlines_flightball_680x415

This case appears in the July 2014 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by airlinetrends.com and Simpliflying that identifies the latest innovative marketing campaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

Last week, Brussels Airlines flew the Belgian national soccer team – a.k.a. The Red Devils – to São Paulo for the 2014 world cup. For this flight ‘SN2014’, Brussels Airlines had painted one of its A330s in the Belgian Red Devils colours.

To add to the football atmosphere up in the air, a synthetic soccer pitch carpet replaced the regular aisle carpet, while the panels that separate Business Class from Economy Class featured life-size photos of the Red Devils in action (images here).

Flight ‘SN2014’ had 150 seats available for fans to fly together with the players and to go to all the world cup matches the Red Devils play. For this purpose, a special EUR 3,499 travel package was created, which includes flights and entrance tickets to matches of the Red Devils.

Flight Ball
Brussels Airlines also offered the public the chance to win one of the fan flight packages and together with ad agency BBDO devised an original way to select the winner: Flight Ball.

Flightball works like a real football field except that players are replaced by planes flying in real-time over Begian airspace. To monitor each available aircraft, Brussels Airlines and BBDO partnered with Casper, a company that visualizes aircraft tracking data, for the provision of  real-time aircraft movement data and the placement of special antennas throughout Belgium. Using the collected data, airplanes then became the players in the game.

To participate in the virtual aircraft soccer game, players had to log in to the Flight Ball website and were assigned an arbitrary opponent. They then added a virtual balloon, placed one goal post at the North Sea and another one in the Ardennes region of Belgium.

The planes flying above Belgium at the time of the game would then play the virtual soccer game and the winner had to answer the contest question. Those answering the question correctly had the chance to be invited for the Flight Ball final.

Participation in the Flightball championship was possible until May 29th and the final was played on June 10 at the headquarters of Brussels Airlines — after which the winner directly boarded the same flight to Brazil as the Red Devils.

The competition was promoted on Brussels Airlines social media sites, and via online banners, print ads and digital displays at Brussels Airport.

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