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Delta Says Acquisition Drive's a Hit

Delta Air Lines was flying high after the conclusion of its Delta Getaway Game, which ended July 31.

Designed to add to its base of 32 million Delta SkyMiles members and obtain e-mail addresses from existing members, the game targeted baseball fans in three of its key markets: New York, Atlanta and Boston. Though the airline did not provide numbers, it said that new members brought in and e-mail addresses added should exceed projections by 200 percent.

“Delta has economic metrics regarding the value of a new member and current members who provide their e-mail addresses, and our projections … show that what is realized will far exceed the cost of the program,” said Jonathan Hickey, vice president and marketing director, sponsorship and promotion marketing, at Digitas, Boston, the lead agency that handled the effort along with three other agencies.

The Getaway Game offered fans in the three cities a chance to see their team play in another city. Consumers could register for The Getaway Game by visiting the Delta Web site. It began June 1 and ended July 31. Each city had a URL personalized with the home team's name: delta.com/mets, delta.com/braves or delta.com/redsox.

“We wanted to leverage Delta's sponsorship of the three teams,” Hickey said. “Boston and New York are parity markets for Delta. In Atlanta, Delta is No. 1. We know through research that the affinities and interests of frequent business travelers include a high index of fan interest in those teams.”

Other perks in the grand prize included a two-night stay at the team's hotel, four tickets to the game and 10,000 Delta SkyMiles.

“We wanted fans to be excited about access to something they couldn't buy,” he said.

Delta used e-mail, print and radio to promote the game in Boston and Atlanta. In New York, it used radio, television and direct mail.

“In the New York market where we used direct mail, we've seen a significant lift compared to Boston and Atlanta,” he said. “For the e-mail enrollment, it will be the same across each market, with results a little stronger in Atlanta. But for the new acquisitions, New York will produce 50 percent, and there will be a 25-25 split from the other two markets.”

Delta originally wanted to include direct mail in Boston and Atlanta, Hickey said, “but due to unique dynamics, the databases in Boston and Atlanta are not part of their sponsorship agreements. In a perfect world, we would have liked to use direct mail for Boston and Atlanta.”

The mail piece dropped the week of June 24 to non-SkyMiles members in the New York area. It urged them to “root, root, root for the away team” as they read about the chance to watch the Mets in San Francisco. Opening the folded piece revealed the Mets logo inside a baseball diamond with two bats and the invitation to “Hit the road — Play the Delta Getaway Game. Mets vs. San Francisco. Go to the games. Go to Batting practice. Stay in the team's hotel.”

Delta scrubbed about 40 percent of the 550,000 names taken from the Mets' database because they already were SkyMiles members.

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