Continental lands safely in digital world

Continental’s long-running Work Hard Fly Right campaign is being refreshed this year with a stronger digital element than ever before.

As more and more consumers shift travel-related activities such as ticket buying and checking in for a flight to the Internet, “the online and digital piece has become a more important piece in how Continental tries to communicate the right customer experience,” said Rich Stoffer, group account director at The Kaplan Thaler Group, which is Continental’s lead creative agency. The Kaplan Thaler Group originated the Work Hard Fly Right campaign, which targets frequent business travelers, a decade ago.

As a result, the online channel is the fastest growing in terms of where Continental is allocating its advertising budget, Stoffer reported.

There are other, more subtle changes taking place as well. For example, in the most recent execution of the campaign making its debut this month, the digital component was a part of the creative and planning process from the very beginning for the first time. As a result, the digital messaging “is more consistent with offline than ever,” Stoffer said.

This early collaboration also resulted in one concept that originated as a digital ad ending up as a 30-second TV spot. The ad depicts people looking out the window of an airplane and seeing clouds shaped like food because they’re not flying Continental, which offers meals.

“It is not easy in the competitive airline industry to come up with claims that are clear and beneficial,” said Gene Lewis, partner and director of Web development at Digital Pulp, which has worked with The Kaplan Thaler Group on the digital side of Continental’s business for the past four years. 

The expectation is that by making such simple and clear benefits as the fact that Continental offers meals on flights and has the newest fleet in the industry, this will help differentiate the brand in consumers minds, Lewis continued.

The broadcast and outdoor creative made their debut at the beginning of the month. The digital ads, which are geo-targeted to New York, debut on March 15 and will appear on sites for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN as well as others.

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