Pre-flight promotion: What better way to garner excitement among the digiterati than to give them a reason to blog, tweet, and write about the windfall they were poised to receive? Invitees from sites like Mashable, Huffington Post, Guestofaguest, Random Night Out, and other information and entertainment outlets (including iMedia Connection), large and small, posted comments, updates, and inquiries for weeks prior to the event on all available channels, including on Thrillist.com. Prominent messaging about the event was also displayed on a dedicated hub page, daily Twitter updates were aggregated, and the event was featured in the site's email newsletter.
On-site exposure efforts: Plenty of Thrillist staffers were on hand throughout the event to converse with attendees, offer information on sponsors, and connect them with fellow online tastemakers. Thrillist co-founders Ben Lerer and Adam Rich were also in attendance to serve as ringleaders of the event and make sure everyone was having a good time.
After-event reinforcement: With the most to gain or lose from Jet Mystery, Thrillist went all out, investing a tremendous amount of time and effort to extend the excitement it drummed up and the relationships it built on its reputation for bringing "Social Media Summer Camp" to life. Pictures and videos started showing up almost immediately after the trip. A Facebook page was created to help attendees stay in touch after the event. And, less than two weeks after the event, the crew gathered on the Lady Sandals Yacht at Chelsea Piers in New York City for a reunion cruise.
Did it secure a digital connection?: Absolutely. Already an up-and-coming publisher with a high profile and high profile founders, the buzz -- both good and not-so-good -- surrounding Jet Mystery helped rocket Thrillist to a strong position among young media pros, and drove considerable consumer interest in getting an invite to the site's next big event.
Pre-flight promotion: The airline's branded Countdown to Jet Mystery page retained a high profile for the brand before the big event, and it drove a lot of repeat visits to its website.
On-site exposure efforts: As a full co-sponsor of the event, JetBlue provided round-trip airfare for the 150 Jet Mystery participants. JetBlue displayed prominent signage to direct participants through the airline check-in process at JFK Airport, and dedicated use of one of its gates as the pre-party lounge, complete with a steel drum band performing, and a continental breakfast buffet. Its gracious and enthusiastic flight attendants also eased the bleary-eyed early morning travelers into the party atmosphere. With free Wi-Fi in all Jet Blue terminals, the airline enabled the online conversation to begin right in step with the live adventure.
After-event reinforcement: On the return flight, JetBlue extended a discounted fare offer to any participants interested in returning to the airline's Jamaican destinations.
Did it secure a digital connection?: JetBlue maintains a Facebook page and a very active Twitter page. Yet, neither of these seemed to make much mention of the event before, during, or after the event. And, as it was armed with contact information for all press participants, follow-up emails detailing other fare deals should have been a no-brainer for the carrier.
On-site exposure efforts: In-room product placement and branding of the trip's Beach Challenge activity were the main components of Gillette's participation in the event -- a satisfactory effort for the CPG company.
Pre-flight promotion/After-event reinforcement: Gillette maintains an active Twitter profile and Facebook page, yet there were no mentions of the brand's participation in Jet Mystery before or after the event.
Did it make a digital connection?: Not sure. The brand of shaving cream or body wash that attendees used probably wasn't germane enough to the experience to garner much mention in their tweets. But digital coupon offers sent to their inboxes may have been a more viable way to keep the brand's products in their hands than large bottles of liquid product (which had to be abandoned before the return flight, as attendees were not permitted to check luggage for the trip). And a few sun-drenched pictures or videos of attendees keeping cool and dry while playing hard would have been a cheap and easy way to show how the brand's products stand up to a Jamaican Beach Challenge.
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