Delta recently introduced a new onboard safety message. What were the airline's media goals regarding that new video?
Katie Connell: We wanted to introduce the new video in a different and nontraditional way to achieve two primary goals: Attract and keep the attention of viewers and build buzz about the video well before it ever began playing on our airplanes. We decided to leverage the popularity of social media, and specifically our own blog, blog.delta.com, and YouTube where we premiered the video... before doing traditional media outreach.
What made the Associated Press such a good target? How did you pitch reporter Daniel Yee?
Connell: AP articles generate worldwide coverage, making it an ideal exclusive for us. We've worked with Dan on other social media stories involving Delta, so we pitched the idea on the story [about] posting the video online first, as well as the reason for our new approach to the traditional, often cookie-cutter safety video.
Did you do any media training for Delta employees for this story?
Connell: We briefed Katherine Lee and Chris Babb (both pictured), the lead flight attendant in the video and Delta's internal producer, respectively, before the interview. But we felt we had two strong hooks: the fresh, new content brought to the federally mandated safety video, as well as the personality and almost immediate popularity of [Lee] in the online space.
What was the impact of the hit?
Connell: The story was covered by broadcast and print outlets worldwide, generating the equivalent of more than $200,000 in calculated advertising value. It also fueled interest in the original YouTube posting.
Name: Katie Connell, senior manager of corporate communications, Delta Airlines
Placement: Associated Press, March 22
Pitch timeline: one month