There's a corporate brand flying around in Brian Wilson's beard. Virgin America is running a Twitter-based scavenger hunt-fashioned promotion utilizing the popular image of the San Francisco Giants pitcher, who has the facial hair of an Oregon logger.
In celebration of the airline's fourth anniversary, it will send at least a handful of flight attendants wearing mock-Wilson beards into the Giants' AT&T Park on August 6 when the Giants take on the Philadelphia Phillies. People who spot the flight attendants will get free Giants/Virgin America memorabilia and be entered to win complimentary airfare. Game attendees can follow Virgin on Twitter and track the #FlyTheBeard hashtag on their mobile devices.
To be clear, Wilson is not directly affiliated with the campaign. His spokesperson said there is no agreement between him and Virgin America. The campaign is purely a product of Virgin America's deal with the Giants.
"There'll be several winners," Abby Lunardini, Virgin America spokesperson, told ClickZ News. "These live game promotions can be dynamic. You never know what's going to happen. We'll leave the number of winners open, depending on how popular the promotion is."
San Francisco has declared Aug. 6 "Virgin America Day," and the person throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the Phillies game is the winner of a Facebook promotion that ran on July 27. The airline is headquartered in San Francisco.
"We do a lot of live activation," Lunardini said. "With our hometown followers, there tends to be a lot of engagement."
Not many brands have shown the willingness to test the social media waters like Virgin America, especially with location-based efforts. For instance, in the past year it has run campaigns via Foursquare, Facebook Places, and Loopt.
Meanwhile, did you know Brian Wilson's beard has its own Facebook page? The pitcher also has 285,000 Twitter followers. Just think what 1970s and 80s baseball great Rollie Fingers could have done with that handlebar mustache and social media during his playing days.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.