Rubenstein builds coalition to "Keep America Flying"

NEW YORK: Rubenstein Associates is working with specialist

marketing firm Carrosell on "Keep America Flying," a campaign designed

to build a coalition of companies and government officials to address

problems in the travel industry.



Carrosell, a company that specializes in advertising on airport luggage

carousels, began using a Keep America Flying logo in its advertising

space after September 11. Jane Rubinstein, VP at Rubenstein Associates,

said it was clear early on that the logo "had the makings of a national

initiative."



The program was officially launched during a press conference at the end

of December, led by New York Governor George Pataki, who is involved in

the coalition.



The goal is to "amalgamate the industry to take a position on all the

important issues it faces," said Robert Schmidt, CEO of Carrosell.

Initial members of the coalition include American Airlines, AirTran

Airways, JetBlue Airways, and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. Schmidt

said that labor unions, hotel groups, and government officials have all

expressed an interest in joining.



The PR team is working to bring new members into the coalition. Specific

details of the PR campaign will be decided when coalition members are

able to meet and discuss priorities, but it is not clear when that will

happen. "What we accomplished last week was to kick off the concept of

the campaign so it brings more stakeholders to the table," Rubinstein

said.



Rubenstein Associates has been working with Carrosell on projects since

the latter launched two years ago. "The effort is somewhat two-fold,"

Rubinstein said. "First, to bring additional participants and

subscribers onto the campaign. Second is to really start to hone and

develop the message."



She added that it is vital to consider all of the industries that are

impacted by a travel slowdown, such as catering services, cleaning

companies, and taxis.



"For example, after September 11, taxi ridership dropped from

approximately 6,000 people a day to 3,900 a day," Rubinstein

explained.



Schmidt said the point of the campaign is to bring the industry together

rather than let competition overwhelm the issues. "We think it is very

important that we voice ourselves as an industry."



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