- Air Canada announced via a news release the debut of a pop-up Poutinerie by Air Canada in Washington, DC, which will be open from Nov. 9-15. The pop-up is part of the airline's "#AirCanadaFliesThere" integrated marketing campaign that includes out-of-home, radio and pre-roll video.
- Visitors to the pop-up can sample varieties of Canada's iconic poutine dish that are inspired by Air Canada destinations, including the classic style of french fries, cheese curds and gravy. Others versions include London's Corner Pub Fish & Chips with malt vinegar-dusted chips, fried cod, dill and caper tartar gravy, or São Paulo's Sweet Chimi-Churrasco with sweet potato fires, grilled carne asada, green chimichurri and queso blanco. Proceeds from the poutine dishes go to Martha's Table, a locally-based nonprofit working to increase access to quality education programs, healthy food and family support.
- The Poutinerie by Air Canada pop-up also features a virtual reality (VR) on-board experience letting visitors simulate taking off on one of the airline's flights. As part of the promotion, the brand is also running an Instagram and Twitter contest where fans can win two Air Canada plane tickets from Regan National Airport, Dulles International Airport and Baltimore International Airport. Winners will be chosen each day for seven days.
Air Canada is aiming to grow brand awareness through experiential marketing that celebrates a classic dish from its home country, while also highlighting the various destinations the airline goes to through localized spins on poutine. The pop-up could be a draw for millennials, who tend to be foodies and are more interested in experiences, such as travel, over products. Donating proceeds from the event to a local charity could help broaden the appeal of the campaign, as younger consumers also more frequently prefer supporting cause-driven marketing.
Including a VR component to the pop-up helps Air Canada show off its on-board features as well. More airlines have been creating interactive campaigns to attract travelers and differentiate their services beyond price point. The Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific, for example, ran a 360-degree ad effort last July that performed better than any of its prior brand campaigns, driving awareness by more than 27% and favorability by more than 25%.
Other marketers in the category are tapping into emerging technology like artificial intelligence to improve personalization. Lufthansa recently launched an AI-powered advertising experience in partnership with IBM Watson Advertising that les consumers ask the brand for general questions and travel content focused on several destinations.
Air Canada's experience, along with the social media contest on Twitter and Instagram, could extend social media reach and engagement. Though the contest for free tickets out of three busy airports might be a draw, only 15% of surveyed travelers actually report that social media influencers their travel choices, according to a recent study by the CMO Council's GeoBranding Center and AIG Travel.