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Frontier Heads Into Wild Blue Yonder

Frontier Airlines is introducing the Wild Blue Yonder network to offer advertisers a better platform to reach its passengers through print, television, entertainment content, the Internet and other media.

The effort, handled by marketing services firm Mphasis Integrated Inc., Denver, also aims to offer a new look and feel to Frontier's in-flight entertainment.

“We call this whole experience 360-degree marketing because our advertisers can have a relationship with passengers from the time they make a reservation till they deplane,” Mphasis chairman/CEO David Henry said.

Based in Denver, Frontier flies to 45 markets nationwide and to destinations in Canada and Mexico. It also has a hub in Los Angeles.

For this endeavor, it will use the combined services of Mphasis' HenryGill Advertising, ClarusPR, Proxy Partnerships and Strata Interactive units.

This month, the airline casts aside the Frontier name for its magazine in favor of a new bimonthly title called Wild Blue Yonder. With a larger trim size and upgraded paper stock, the magazine gets a print run of 55,000 and an anticipated readership of 550,000 because of pass-through.

“Frontier was very much a destination-driven publication, and ours is going to be much more traveling lifestyles,” Henry said.

The airline also will debut a site at www.gowildblueyonder.com with an online store called Spree, entertainment, news and a link to www.frontierairlines.com for reservations. Gowildblueyonder.com will offer destination coupons for Frontier passengers: the Wild Hare Care Packs.

Another introduction is the Wild Blue Yonder TV channel, which will play onboard Frontier flights and in the Frontier lounge at Denver International Airport. Along with music videos, trivia and destination-specific information, the airline will run five 15-minute international films monthly. The airline will offer a grand prize to the film voted most popular by passengers on gowildblueyonder.com.

“First and foremost, the TV channel has a captive audience — they're literally strapped in their seats, and the channel is always on unless they've decided to swipe their credit card to watch DirecTV or a pay-per-view movie,” Henry said. “The short format features the ability for advertisers to air branded content. There are advertisers like Bentley who have produced four minutes' branded entertainment. We're one of the few places other than the Internet to have this digital format that can run what American Express calls Webisodes.”

Part of Mphasis' work for the Wild Blue Yonder channel is the innovative approach to in-flight TV using games, trivia and quizzes. For instance, the firm created sub-brands like Thunk, a boarding game that plays on TV when passengers actually are boarding the plane. There is Wheels Up, a segment with a standup comedian on the channel explaining how the 360-degree network affects passengers.

Another segment, Cloud Nine, is a sub-brand under Wild Blue Yonder International Short Film Festival. Different Strokes sees artwork through the words of artists. And Spice of Life comments on unusual places to go, things to have and adventures to take.

“That's where you can get the branded content as well as local color, fun facts, must-sees and restaurant picks starring your destination city,” Henry said. “This is the first of its kind. There's nothing like this on air or on the ground or on the Internet.”

Passengers preferring other fare can swipe their card and access the 24 channels of DirecTV onboard.

Other Frontier media opportunities include ad space on ticket jackets, tray liners and boarding passes as well as joint marketing programs.

The airline particularly targets advertisers of luggage, hotel stays, perfume and cologne brands and other upscale products suited to travelers and a high-income lifestyle. Japanese-owned Subaru of America signed up as Frontier's first 360-degree marketing sponsor.

“We're selling it all as a package,” Henry said. “We've conjured up a new way of looking at this medium through the network. I think the challenge for Frontier is to provide an additional entertainment value to passengers and add value to their corporate partners.”

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