American Airlines Weds Movies, Travel in Online Promo

American Airlines and Blockbuster Online have teamed for what they’re calling the “Feature Presentation” online sweepstakes. It’s aimed at promoting AA.com and the online DVD rental service.

The Fort Worth-based airline is highlighting its “Lowest Fare Guarantee,” which rolled it rolled out at the beginning of February. That guarantee, aimed at driving traffic to the airline’s own site instead of to online travel agencies, promises shoppers they’ll find the lowest fares for a given itinerary on AA.com. Spending for the effort wasn’t disclosed.

The sweepstakes’ grand prize is a trip for five and a digital video camera, which winners will be encouraged to use to make their own on-location movie. Other prizes include American Airlines travel certificates and free six-month memberships to Blockbuster Online. Anyone who enters can sign up for a one-month free trial of Blockbuster’s DVD-by-mail service.

“It is geared toward movie aficionados and amateur movie makers,” said Billy Sanez, a spokesperson for American Airlines. “We know those demographics are folks who travel for leisure and they’re interested in electronic devices, like DVD camcorders.”

The company kicked off the promotion by including a call-to-action within its “Net SAAvers” email newsletter. While the company won’t divulge how many subscribers receive the publication, Sanez said it was American’s most popular email communication.

Online banner ads announcing the promotion will appear on a variety of entertainment-oriented Web sites, including EOnline.com. Banners are also expected to show up on the main AA.com home page and on Blockbuster’s online presence. Print ads promoting the sweepstakes will run in American Airlines’ on-board magazine, American Way.

Once visitors click on the email or on the banner ads, they’re transported to AA.com/promo. The microsite built by Tribal DDB Dallas explains the lowest fare guarantee and lets users enter to win prizes. It also uses a travel and movie-themed interactive Flash presentation to encourage entrants to send sweepstakes information to friends and family. For every viral email message people send, they get one more sweepstakes entry.

The sweepstakes and its “tell-a-friend” elements will also be employed internally, to market to the airline’s 80,000 employees, their friends and families.

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