Continental Airlines has joined the Star Alliance and is launching a new marketing campaign to alert customers to new benefits.
Customers can now access connections to an expanded network of destinations and reciprocal frequent flyer and airport lounge benefits worldwide. The Star Alliance network is a global airline alliance and includes Air Canada, United and US Airways. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 19,500 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries. Houston-based Continental was a member of the SkyTeam alliance, but left over a year ago when two other major carriers in the alliance --- Delta and Northwest --- said they would merge.
Continental has removed all signage referring to its former alliance, and is in the process of deploying extensive Star Alliance branding throughout its airport facilities and on its aircraft. To remind customers of the transition, every main cabin entry door in Continental's fleet will display a message saying: "You're About To Get The Star Treatment."
The airline is launching a "broad" ad campaign coinciding with the airline's entry into the alliance. With international business travelers as its target audience, the campaign will deploy mainly in print and digital media, with a focus on key markets like New York/ Newark. Star Alliance will launch a parallel campaign to help attract new customers and reinforce understanding of customer benefits.
The Continental ads continue using the airline's tagline: "Work Hard. Fly Right." Headlines on the ads include: "We give you more globe by aligning with the stars" and "Better just got bigger."
Print ads will appear in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, USA Today (all nationally), the Houston Chronicle, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, the (Newark) Star-Ledger, Time, Newsweek, The Week and U.S. News & World Report. Online efforts include custom takeovers on ft.com, wsj.com, marketwatch.com and additional advertising on bbc.com, economist.com, reuters.com and nyt.com.
Outdoor ads wrapping the 51st Street subway station in New York are close to key corporate clients.
The new ads will run for several weeks to announce the entry into the alliance, while the regular ad campaign will continue to run alongside and will have a new Star Alliance tag underneath the brand name, according to a spokesperson.
To spread the word about the new benefits, Continental is running a sweepstakes where customers who are Twitter members are asked to tweet or retweet using the hashtag #StarTreatment through Nov. 3. Those who do will be automatically entered into the #StarTreatment Sweepstakes.
Prizes include two BusinessFirst tickets to anywhere Continental flies and one of two $1,000 Continental Vacations gift cards.
The rules and sweepstakes information were tweeted to current followers of Continental. Other customers will see a promotion for the contest on the airline's Web site. OnePass loyalty club members will receive an email alerting them to the contest, according to a spokesperson. There will also be a travel agent sales blitz where the agents will get more information on how to participate.