The company began the campaign in late May when a flurry of stories appeared about the new company, including a May 26 exclusive with the AP. It also held a press conference on May 27. JetAmerica is an "indirect air carrier," because the company is not an official airline and subcontracts its airplanes.
"The objective of the campaign is to build brand recognition, brand credibility through constructing and executing a series of ongoing public relations platforms," said Steve Schoen, chairman of the board for JetAmerica Aviation. "We ramped up [the PR] about 10 days before we started area television spots and billboards, and we booked in the first 48 hours almost 10,000 passengers on our Web site."
The first phase of the PR campaign encouraged consumers to buy tickets, which were as low as $9, online. The next phase of the campaign is leading up to JetAmerica's first flight on July 13, and will culminate with a surprise event, Schoen said. A third prong of the PR will kick off in August, with a new round of destinations, said Bryan Glazer, president and executive producer for World Satellite Television News & Media Relations, JetAmerica's AOR.
The budget for the PR is "healthy, but not exorbitant," Glazer said, explaining that money from JetAmerica is supplemented with funds from the airports served by JetAmerica through the small community air service grants.
Serving smaller markets, such as Toledo, OH, and Lansing, MI, the target audiences for JetAmerica are business travelers to New York, leisure travelers to New York and Florida, and college communities near the cities, Glazer said. With colleges and universities such as Notre Dame, University of Michigan, and Michigan State all close to JetAmerica's destinations, the company plans to target alumni associations and college students.
"The launch of NCAA football season will be another big rollout [for us]," Schoen said.