How JetBlue Achieved the Impossible: Getting Passengers to Love It When Babies Cry

A glare-free Mother's Day stunt from MullenLowe

Headshot of David Griner

The only thing worse than sitting next to a crying baby on a long flight is being the parent holding the crying baby. You know you're responsible for everyone else's misery, and there's often very little you can do to fix it. 

For Mother's Day, JetBlue and agency MullenLowe decided to turn this frequent frustration on its head by actually rewarding passengers when babies cry. 

The "FlyBabies" stunt offered a 25 percent discount to passengers on a flight from JFK to Long Beach each time a baby started crying. That meant if four babies cried, all passengers would get a free round-trip ticket for their next JetBlue flight. 

Here's what happened on the flight:

According to MullenLowe, 40 percent of U.S. adults say they're annoyed by crying babies on flights. While it's unlikely JetBlue's reward approach will become a popular perk among airlines, at least it shows that sometimes, with some clever thinking, you can turn a negative into a positive.

The new spot, from Hey Baby Films director Joris Debeij, follows another MullenLowe stunt from February, in which the carrier invited 150 unsuspecting passengers to "Reach Across the Aisle" in an election-themed prank that also offered free flights as a reward. 

Client: JetBlue Airways
Title: FlyBabies
Agency: MullenLowe and Mediahub

Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
Executive Creative Director: Tim Vaccarino
Executive Creative Director: Dave Weist
VP, Creative Director: Julia Neumann
VP, Creative Director: Amy Ferguson
VP, Associate Creative Director: Ben Salsky
Jr. Art Director: Alyssa Cavanaugh
Jr. Copywriter: Sai He
Creative Intern: Athanasia Efthimiu

SVP, Executive Director Integrated Production: Liza Near
SVP, Director of Broadcast Production: Zeke Bowman
Senior Integrated Producer: Liz Shook
Integrated Producer: Matt Polski
Project Manager: Christina Gratton
Senior Digital Producer: Louise Lloyd Owen
Production Supervisor: Kristine Ring-Janicki
Business Affairs Manager: Amy Keddy

Production Company: Hey Baby
Director: Joris Debeij
Executive Producer: Richard Bjorlin
Line Producer: Peter Murray

Editorial: PS260
Editor: Hil Vega
Managing Partner: Zarina Mak
Senior Producer: Laura Patterson

Music: Storefront

Sound: Plush
Mixer: Rob Fielack

Finish:  The Mill
Colorist: Fergus MacCall

—Account Management
Executive Director: Drayton Martin
Account Director: Molly Bluhm
Account Executive: Beba Rivera

Group Strategy Director: Ellie Gogan-Tilstone
Senior Strategist: Mike Patrick

SVP, Group Digital Director: Jade Watts
Associate Digital Media Director: Tracy Barahona
Media Supervisor: Shoshana Levine

SVP, Account Director PR: Jaclyn Ruelle
Account Supervisor PR: Becky Brand
Account Supervisor PR: Lauren Brennan
Account Supervisor PR: Brittany Topham
Account Executive PR: Kelsey Labrot

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."