What about branded fortune cookies? While the concept is nothing new, the strategy, along with additional campaign elements, proved successful for American Airlines when the company launched its Chicago to Shanghai nonstop service in April.
TM Advertising, AA's agency of record, worked with EMC Outdoor to distribute 100,000 fortune cookies over a six-day period to business professionals in Chicago.
Cookies contained one of three fortunes: "Nonstop to Shanghai on American Airlines, your perfect match," "You will enjoy nonstops to Shanghai on AA," and "AA nonstops to Shanghai looks very good."
The brand ambassadors wore branded sweatshirts and pulled branded bags (resembling luggage) filled with fortune cookies.
Interestingly enough, fortune cookies were not handed out in the Chinatown section of Chicago.
"The decision was made to NOT distribute fortune cookies in Chinatown itself--as they are really an American phenomenon, not Chinese," said Jerry Buckley, marketing communications manager at EMC.
In addition, a group of four scooters towing two-sided backlit panels toured the streets of Chicago 10 hours a day for four days within Chinatown and the Central Business District.
Creative consisted of three different messages with one written in Chinese. "Hop on! We'll take you to Shanghai," and "Go nonstop to Shanghai a lot faster than this," were two of the messages used in the campaign.
Scooters were also parked in high-traffic areas such as Union Station and the Financial District; scooter locations were sometimes changed to better follow the flow of pedestrians.
TM Advertising, with the help of Asian-American agency Ten Communications, designed creative where the copy was written in Chinese. This included newspaper ads in World Journal, Sing Tao Daily News, China Press, International Daily News, Chinese American News, China Star Weekly and Ming Pao Daily News; online ads on Goldsea.com and Sina.com; and an outdoor ad located in Chinatown.
Online ads delivered 12,385,587 impressions, a 0.25% click-through rate that resulted in 11,774 tickets booked and 2,599 AAdvantage Enrollments.