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How Delta Used a Local Contest to Reach the Hearts of New Yorkers

Authors: Kristen Matthews Kristen Matthews
Posted Under: Social Media
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Social Influencer Case StudyInfluencer marketing has become a little convoluted and confusing if you ask me. So, for the sake of this post and how I like to market, I’m going to dumb the term down a bit and say that the gist of what we want to do as marketers is make a lasting connection with consumers through fans of our brand.

Something that seems to get overlooked is the fact that influencers are everywhere. They are your brand’s best story tellers and can be employees of your brand who have yet to have a voice, the person who grows the produce for your line of grocery items, or the person who is passionate about your product and talks about it on their own accord (think the Nutella girl).

Influencers are not just super tweeters with a lot of followers or bloggers with a ton of traffic. Both online and offline, true influencers actually like your brand and promote it in an authentic way because their passion is genuine.

New York agency, BoomBox Inc looked outside of the box for influencers for their client, Delta Airlines, and activated average New Yorkers and Delta’s employees as influencers.

Read this case study and think about how you too can look outside of the box for people to talk about your brand!

Delta’s Goal

Delta’s goal was simple in theory but challenging to execute: They wanted to reach the hearts and minds of the people of NYC and create a lasting impression that would keep Delta on the brains of New Yorkers as the “go to” airline.

Why a focus on NYC? Well, it happens to be the largest hub in the country so it makes sense to connect with New Yorkers. In an authentic way, that is.

Find the Most Celebrated Part of Your Brand

In order to connect in an authentic way with consumers, a good marketer needs to get real people talking about their brand – not just paid influencers with a huge social reach.

BoomBox looked to the most celebrated parts of Delta and decided to emphasize their flight attendants, or Red Coats as Delta calls them, and set up the Red Coat Challenge.

How Delta Used a Local Contest to Reach the Hearts of New Yorkers

Gamification Isn’t Just for Kids

BoomBox has a knack for using gamification tactics for their clients. The theory behind this type of social media marketing is that it’s a fun way to incorporate people in to a brand’s story.

With consumers craving meaningful interaction and engagement with the brands they like or are interested in, BoomBox has found that this type of connection is more likely to happen when using gamificiation techniques.

In order to connect Delta to New Yorkers and emphasize a human component of their brand, BoomBox agency literally hid Red Coats all over the city.

For 6 weeks, locals participated by trying to locate the Red Coats through geo-coordinates and photo clues that Delta released throughout the day digitally.

Players raced all over New York to be the first to find the Red Coat. They had to share their progress socially which was an added bonus for Delta’s social presence and awareness.

How Delta Used a Local Contest to Reach the Hearts of New Yorkers

Winners were given a free trip on a chartered and catered flight from New York to L.A. which sounds like a blast. Even the prize perpetuated Delta’s friendly image! Brilliant.

You may ask how thematic relevance comes in to play. Well, New Yorkers had fun finding the Red Coats, it was a local event, and it made participants happy. When a consumer is comfortable and familiar with a brand, they are more likely to choose it. Tie it all together and now to New Yorkers, Delta rocks.

They Reached How Far!?

When all was said and done, Delta had reached over 70 million people via Twitter and had over 180,000 direct interactions from this contest. Those engagement numbers combined with the sentiment, which will lead to an ongoing emotional connection with their target group, proves that this campaign was a huge success.

Do you have an example of an awesome influencer digital marketing strategy to share? Whether it’s one you’ve seen or were part of I would love to hear about it in the comments below. Additionally, if you’d like to be featured in my weekly post contact me at and let’s talk about your campaign!

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