JetBlue believes influencer marketing has to be connected to deeper marketing goals rather than simply being tactical, as the airline demonstrated in a tie-up with filmmaker Spike Lee.

Elizabeth Windram, JetBlue’s vice president of marketing, discussed at a recent ANA conference the ways in which the carrrier’s overall marketing strategy and influencer activations align. 

“Influencers are not a strategy; they are a tool that can support your brand,” Windram said. (For more details, read WARC’s report: How JetBlue uses influencers as focuses in support of broader tactics.)

For example, when the airline ran a stunt to remind customers that the carrier had the greatest number of daily flights between New York and Los Angeles – start cooking a pizza in New York (pizza heaven) and deliver to Los Angeles (pizza hell) for the final touches – it generated a lot of local media coverage and digital virality.

But to take the “Pie in the Sky” transcontinental message to new heights, Windram needed a major influencer who had on-the-ground credence in New York as well as charm among the Los Angelenos.

Enter Spike Lee. “Even though was born in Atlanta, Spike Lee had the authority of being a New Yorker,” the JetBlue marketer said.

And the reason the writer/director signed up to the idea was rooted in another part of the carrier’s strategy – the punning names given to its planes, one of which is Mo’ Betta Blues after Lee’s 1990 film of the same name; that and the fact that, in Lee’s words, “those people from LA don’t know how to fold a pizza slice”.

Lee now uses JetBlue as his preferred mode of transport when he flies West. “We were able to create some really fun content, create an incredible program that did drive lift of our [transcontinental] bookings – as well as awareness of our [transcontinental] dominance – and have a ton of fun with our brand,” said Windram.

“As an influencer, Spike Lee was able to help us navigate the story really authentically. He was really all that we needed.”

And the airline continues to nurture its relationship with the global influencer, according to Windram: “We’ve done more with him. We actually flew Mo’ Betta Blues down to Puerto Rico to help him out filming a scene of his show.”

Sourced from WARC