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Qantas Turns Its Sick Bags Into a Social Media Marketing Opportunity

May 06, 2014 9:40 am

Skift Take

We never thought Qantas would have the stomach for something as creative as this.

— Jason Clampet

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Qantas Air

Artist Gemma O’Brien working on her sick bag. Qantas Air


Qantas passengers are being urged to doodle on their sick bags for the chance to win airport lounge access

Reaching for the sick bag at 30,000 feet rarely results in a piece of artwork. But Qantas, the Australian airline, is trying to change that with the introduction of a novel social media campaign

The carrier is urging air passengers to get creative on its flights by drawing art on the airsickness bags found in their seat pockets, before sharing a photo of their efforts on social media websites using the hashtag #qantasblankcanvas.

The best entries will be posted on Qantas’s Instagram account throughout May, with winners receiving a double Qantas Club pass – valid for entry into Qantas airport lounges, as well as priority check-in and extra baggage allowance.

Passengers may also enter the competition by drawing on napkins or boarding passes.

The campaign was inspired by Gemma O’Brien, an Australian who impressed Qantas staff with her sick-bag artwork on a flight from Sydney to Wellington and has since produced a series of bags for the airline.

Jo Boundy, Qantas’s head of digital and entertainment, said the campaign was about inspiring passengers to get in touch with their creative side while in the air.

“From boarding passes to in-flight bags, napkins to luggage tags, we have a number of perfect blank canvases for passengers to create their own in-flight art,” Ms Boundy said. “This campaign encourages our customers to get creative at 30,000 feet and will showcase their inspiring works through social media to a global audience.”

Among the early entries is this effort, by Twitter user @RabbitTown.

Winners will be revealed by Qantas on May 9, 16, 23 and 30.

The airsickness bag was invented by Gilmore Schjeldahl for Northwest Orient Airlines in 1949.

Some airlines – including Spirit Airlines – have allowed companies to advertise using the bags. Virgin Atlantic promoted the Star Wars movie Episode III: Revenge of the Sith as part of its “Design for Chunks” project in 2004.

Other airlines have issued supposedly humourous designs. Hapag-Lloyd Express (now TUIfly), for example, had bags that stated “Thank you for your criticism!” on the front.

The Air Sickness Bag Virtual Museum is a collection of 2,297 bags collected by Steven J. Silberberg. It can be viewed at www.airsicknessbags.com


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