JetBlue taps eBay in PR/marketing coup

The airline sells fares on eBay earning loads of positive coverage.

The airline sells fares on eBay earning loads of positive coverage

Living up to its discount airline status, JetBlue this week offered a roundtrip flight from New York to San Diego for five cents.

That low fare lasted 10 minutes before it increased to $3. Three hours later it became $5; in two days the fare jumped to $250. That’s not inflation driving those prices up; it’s bidders on eBay.

JetBlue auctioned 300 flights and six vacation getaways on the world’s largest online auction house, eBay, this week. The cost to JetBlue, profit or loss, is unknown at press time. Whatever the cost, the positive PR this stunt has kicked up is priceless.

“Thanks to the move, we’re talking about this story and you’re writing about it; that’s word-of-mouth done well,” said Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing. “In an industry where they have tons of identical products from identical competitors … this is a way to build a brand to stand out and kick off conversations.”

Fertile ground for communicators

The eBay scheme has certainly started a conversation.

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