Oct 17, 2012 at 04:37 PM
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Airline One-Ups Competitor With Clever Election Campaign

Southwest Airlines may be the official sponsor of the presidential debates, but budget airline competitor, JetBlue, has found a creative way to turn the national event into its own big marketing opportunity. Here's the ad that ran immediately after last night's debate.

While Southwest Airlines is in their first year as a debate sponsor, JetBlue customers can visit JetBlue.com/electionprotection to select their choice for President and enter for a chance to a win a free ticket to one of the airline's 21 international destinations if the election doesn't go their way.

"We've all heard it said before: if my candidate does not win, I'm leaving the country," said Marty St. George, senior vice president marketing and commercial strategy for JetBlue. "Fun is one of our five founding values, and in this spirit we decided to give people a chance to recover from the political noise and follow through on their claim to skip town if their candidate comes up short. And with service to more than 20 international destinations JetBlue is the perfect fix. Most importantly, we want to highlight the freedom we have as Americans to exercise our right to vote and encourage everyone to do their part on November 6. Live Free or Fly!"

The airline's website will offer a real-time heat map of customers' preferred destinations, and a social media ticket will track buzz around the campaign. After the results are in, JetBlue will give away 1,006 roundtrip certificates -- that's 2012 seats -- to participants whose candidate lost. Tickets are good for roundtrip travel from any airport JetBlue services to 21 international, nonstop destinations including Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Turks & Caicos.

JetBlue is also hitting the Election Protection campaign trail, taking to the streets of New York City with a roving vehicle from October 17 to 23. Armed with iPads, campaign swag and local New York City voting information, the airline's brand ambassadors will barnstorm locations throughout the Big Apple to encourage New Yorkers to get out to vote in the election on November 6th and to sign-up for JetBlue's Election Protection.