Hawaiian Airlines hires Edelman, widens outreach

HONOLULU: Hawaiian Airlines has named Edelman its AOR for North America following a competitive review involving six agencies.

HONOLULU: Hawaiian Airlines has named Edelman its AOR for North America following a competitive review involving six agencies.

Three firms were in the final round of the RFP, said Ann Botticelli, SVP of corporate communications and public affairs at Hawaiian Airlines. She declined to name the other finalists.

Botticelli said the company wanted to find an agency partner to help it strengthen its presence in North America.

“We inaugurated non-stop service to [John F. Kennedy International Airport] last July, and at that point, most of our outreach in the continental US was in the financial media area,” she said. “We thought it was really important to cultivate and develop a presence within consumer media.”

Prior to bringing on Edelman, which began work with the airline on March 1, the company worked with Burson-Marsteller on financial media engagement for two years. Botticelli declined to disclose budget information for the account. 

“We enjoyed working with Hawaiian Airlines and wish the company the best in the future,” said a Burson representative.

Hawaiian Airlines selected Edelman because of its creativity and ability to executive initiatives for other clients, said Botticelli. She added that a few members on the Edelman team are Hawaiian, which was beneficial because they understand the islands and their way of life.

For the one-year contract, Edelman is tasked with engaging consumer, travel, and trade media throughout North America and promoting the airlines' offerings that are specific to the North American market. The firm is also charged with helping the brand reintroduce itself from a consumer lifestyle standpoint to people on the West Coast, said Botticelli.

She added that the airline wants to showcase the fact that it's a “destination carrier” and that its focus is on hospitality.

“When you get onto a plane going to Hawaii that is a Hawaiian Airlines plane, your vacation is going to begin the moment you step on that plane, and you're going to really feel like your Hawaiian vacation has begun,” Botticelli said.

Social media is handled in-house at Hawaiian, but Botticelli said the company “would love to be able to partner on different projects” with Edelman in the future in that space.

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