[SWE] SAS named Innovator of the Year

Scandinavian Airlines has been named Innovator of the Year for its social media and PR campaign Love is in the air, that became a global phenomena last year, with over 150 million people worldwide hearing or seeing it. SAS is also a finalist for Sweden’s top PR of the year award for the same campaign.

It is IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) that has named SAS Innovator of the Year. Each year the organization salute individuals and companies that have helped to make the world a more welcoming place for LGBT travelers. Earlier this year, Love is in the air was also named Online Campaign of the Year by Flightglobal and awarded with a Webbie.

“We’re extremely pleased to honor the SAS’ Love is in the Air campaign at this year’s IGLTA convention,” said IGLTA President/CEO John Tanzella. “The Innovator Honor goes to a company that has shown great creativity in its efforts to further LGBT tourism. Given that this year’s convention has a focus on social media, technology trends, and other 2.0 advancements in the travel industry, it’s especially fitting to celebrate SAS: the airline used social media to not only attract massive global attention for its LGBT-friendly business practices, but also to put same-sex marriage in the public eye in an affirming way. Attendees of this year’s IGLTA convention will have a first-hand opportunity to study this successful campaign model in a breakout educational session led by SAS.”

“We are tremendously proud to receive yet another award for this campaign. We feel that it is important to show that we are an airline for all customers and our goal is to show that we are LGBT-friendly by various activities rather than just claim it in fancy ads as most of our competitors do,” says Anders Lindström, PR Director, Scandinavian Airlines.

Sweden’s most prestigious PR award, Stora PR priset, will be given out on May 5, and the jury’s motivation of SAS’ nomination reads: “SAS had a good timing and played on the [Sweden’s] royal wedding. Impressive to not niche target the campaign, but to go public and mainstream. Very impressive and genuine hard work from start to finish. Made in-house with exceptional results and wide global coverage, added with documented commercial value such as increased sales and accumulated PR value. Daring and somewhat provocative, with interesting challenges and obstacles that were overcome along the way.”

Love is in the air was launched September 1 last year as an integrated PR and social media campaign. Over 300 couples competed to become the first same-sex couple to get married in the air. More than 500,000 unique visitors visited the campaign site, with over 350,000 unique votes cast. The German gay couple Aleksander Mijatovic and Shantu Bhattacherjee won with 81,640 votes and were wed 7000 meters above the Swedish city of Borlänge onboard SK903 between Stockholm and New York, December 6 last year. A few minutes later, the first lesbian couple wedding in the air took place with runners up Ewa Tomaszewicz and Gosia Rawińska of Poland. A US-based competition was also held as part of Love is in the air with partners VisitSweden and Stockholm Visitors Board.

IGLTA’s Honors will be awarded May 14 at the annual IGLTA convention, which this year takes place in Fort Lauderdale

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