Walgreens, Orbitz find common message in healthy travel

CHICAGO: Walgreens and Orbitz kicked off a collaborative campaign promoting preventive healthcare during the holiday travel season.

CHICAGO: Walgreens and Orbitz recently kicked off a collaborative campaign promoting preventive healthcare during the holiday travel season, which precedes the January-February flu season. Though the companies are leveraging the heightened travel period for the PR campaign launch, the duo, in an effort to reach new customers, is positioning it as a year-long initiative “to help keep travelers healthy.”

“We want to leverage synergies between health and travel,” said Jim Cohn, media relations manager at Walgreens. He was previously a senior communications manager at Orbitz.

The campaign is a natural fit for Walgreens with the brand emphasis on wellness and preventive healthcare. Brian Hoyt, VP of communications and government affairs at Orbitz Worldwide, said that since its brand's message is to make travel easier, the concept of traveler wellness benefits both audiences.

“It's an opportunity to gain access to each others' customer base,” he added. “One of the really attractive things to Walgreens and us is we'll do an e-mail swop, and we intend to extend brand visibility to millions of customers.”

He added that the first quarter effort launches with a message about physical health, but the campaign will also tap into mental health during travel via various initiatives launched on a quarterly basis. 

Though neither company would divulge a budget, Hoyt explained the real cost associated with the campaign is the labor. “It's very much a barter type of initiative.”

Direct marketing and other marketing disciplines may come into play during future related initiatives, but Cohn said the campaign is largely PR-driven, and Walgreens is not working with an agency.

To kick off the campaign, the partners promoted results from a joint study amongst “holiday travelers,” finding that 25% of the respondents have had travel plans interrupted by unexpected illness. Throughout the campaign, the team will also highlight new consumer research about health and wellness. It will also work together on cross-promotional marketing programs, offering exclusive travel deals to Walgreens customers and Walgreens specials to Orbitz customers.

Current PR tactics include an SMT and RMT, traditional media relations, and social media promotion through platforms like Facebook. 

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