Thanksgiving eve is notorious as the busiest — and arguably the most annoying — travel day of the year. But not so today for some lucky plane passengers in Texas. Online retailer Zappos has decided to bring a bit of fun to the harried commute by turning the baggage claim at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston into a pop-up Wheel of Fortune-type game.
Today, a carousel has been adorned with Zappos-branded roulette-wheel type slots designating different prizes, including Zappos gift certificates, North Face jackets, Jansport backpacks, Ugg boots and a Kitchen-Aid mixer. Travelers on seven different American Airline fights beginning at 8:30 am will win whatever prize their suitcases land on. Improv actors and a Zappos crew will also be on hand to MC the festivities and make sure the “game” runs smoothly.
Zappos agency Mullen conceived the idea. Over the years the shop has been asked to create out-of-the-box campaigns that surprise consumers in unexpected places — like, for example, this banner ad that unleashed an in-the-buff man into surfers’ browsers. “Zappos wants to intercept people in their everyday lives and bring surprise and delight,” explained Mullen executive creative director Tim Vaccarino. “So right away we’re always looking for something fresh in approach.”
Last year at this time, the agency came up with the idea to pay some drivers’ tolls in Massachusetts. “This year, we looked for a new take on this brief,” Mr. Vaccarino said. “This group of stressed out, tortured traveling souls seemed ripe for the picking. Why not deliver them joy right at the baggage claim?”
Zappos chose to hold the event in Houston because the city represents one of its largest customer markets, a spokeswoman said, and is meant to represent the brand’s “thank you” to its some of its most loyal patrons.
The event is sure to bring a smile to weary travelers, but what happens when more than one bag falls on the same slot on the carousel? “If two bags fall on the same prize, both people will get it,” said Mr. Vaccarino. Also, no hoarders allowed. For those traveling with more than one suitcase, there’s a one-prize-per-winner limit.