JetBlue Seeks ‘Brand, Buzz and Bookings’

JetBlue Airways ultimately is seeking “brand, buzz and bookings” in its search for an agency or agencies to handle creative and media duties on its advertising account, according to an request for information that the airline issued to interested shops.

“This means everything from selling flights to driving awareness and stealing share in key markets to launching new products and services to building the success of existing ones,” the RFI states.

Furthermore, the 10-year-old carrier is looking to build on its claim of being an “industry innovator.”

“We know that we must evolve our business and our product while staying true to our vision,” the RFI asserts. “In the volatile and competitive world of aviation, it’s imperative to continually innovate and update in order to survive and thrive.”

As in the past, JetBlue will lean heavily on digital and direct-response ads, which account for more than a third of its annual marketing budget and will continue to grow, according to the RFI.

In terms of major media, JetBlue spent about $15 million in the first nine months of 2009 and more than $25 million in 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

The creative incumbent, WPP Group’s JWT in New York, is not defending, while the media incumbent, WPP’s MediaCom in New York, is. The Forest Hills, N.Y.-based JetBlue could not immediately be reached.

Search-engine optimization efforts or digital duties on, which are handled by Interpublic Group’s Huge in Brooklyn, N.Y., are not in play.

Responses to the 11-page RFI are due at JetBlue on Friday, and, based on submissions, the airline is expected to select about a half-dozen agencies to visit, said sources.

Like many RFIs, JetBlue’s requests information about client experience, relevant case histories, agency capabilities and key executives. The document goes further, however, to ask broader questions about the industry and agency “philosophy.”

For example, under the heading of “your industry,” the RFI asks, “What’s the future of advertising as you see it in general and specifically in digital and social media? How are you ensuring that your company will be around and viable for that future? What’s your favorite campaign of the last year that was not created by your company and why?”

Under “your credo,” the document asks, “What’s your philosophy and how has it evolved since your company was established? How does it set you apart from the rest of the industry? What is the vision for your company, for the next five and 10 years?”

Key decision makers in the review — which JetBlue is conducting itself, without the use of a consultant — include Martin St. George, svp of marketing and commercial strategy, and Fiona Morrison, director of brand and advertising, said sources.