Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson spoke with the media at Toronto's Pearson Airport Wednesday to celebrate his airline's first international route. The California-based airline will fly between Canada's largest city to San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Although Virgin relies heavily on all types of press coverage, they're increasingly turning to online marketing to promote their products and services. For this new route, they teamed up with Klout, which measures online influence, to offer popular Twitter users free flights on the tech-friendly airline. When word of the promotion hit the Web, there was no shortage of people trying to cash in on the promo and talking about their love for all things Virgin.
To keep the deal with tweeters and bloggers as "clean" as possible, Virgin did not attach any requirements to their freebee offer. As they said on the Klout website, "This is a more targeted form of receiving a sample while shopping at the grocery store. You are welcome to tell the world you love the product, you hate the product or say nothing at all." From a social media standpoint, that kind of transparency is key factor for something like this to work.
For travelling geeks, it's hard not to get excited about what Virgin America offers for gadget-laden travellers. The airline gives all passengers access to a library of MP3s, has 110v power outlets on every seat and offers on-board Wi-Fi (for a fee). For the record, I do not accept free offers and have not received any free flights.