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Wed, Jul 16, 2008

'This Excessive Air Fare Is Brought To You By...'

Airlines To Print Ads On Boarding Passes

The bar setting the level airlines are willing to stoop to in order to generate revenue keeps getting lower. Six US airlines will soon include advertisements on boarding passes customers print out at home, according to USA Today.

Sojern, an advertising start-up based in Omaha, NE has contracted with the airlines to provide advertising content based on the flight's destination. Customers hoping to avoid the ticket counters (or kiosks) at American, Delta, Northwest, US Airways, United and Continental will soon be greeted with ads touting restaurant and entertainment options, among other targeted advertising.

"It's a tremendous opportunity to monetize with targeted personal ads," said Duane Woerth, Sojern's business development executive and a former head of the Air Line Pilots Association.

Airlines have been placed ads on ticket sleeves used to hold boarding passes for years... but this is the first time those ads will show up on a pass printed out on your home computer, using your ink. Sojern says customers will be able to select whether or not to print the ads.

As airline fortunes continue to decline, plan on advertising to creep ever-further into the traveling process, too. US Airways already place ads on tray tables, and several European low-cost carriers also place ads on overhead luggage bins. ANN recently reported on a company planning to sell ad space on baggage carousel conveyor belts.

Studies have shown about 40 percent of airline travelers opt to check-in online. "That's 280 million blank billboards," says former Intuit executive and Sojern founder Gordon Whitten.

Peter Yesawich is CEO of Ypartnership, a travel-marketing firm. He says such ads could be effective, as long as they contain "meaningful content."

"I'd be happier if the flight departs on time, rather than reading about a ballgame in a city I may not get to," he added.

FMI: www.sojern.com


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