Preparing An Airport Rebrand For Takeoff

Feb 22, 2019  |  By Gregg O'Neill  |  

Talk to anyone who travels and they’ll have one thing in common – they all hate airports. From parking to security to missed flights, everyone has a story or two, or twelve.

One of my first big initiatives here at Civilian, came by way of our client, Norman Mineta San Jose International Airport, otherwise known as SJC, and for good reason, the former is quite the mouthful. They had one huge problem, one desire, and one request.

Working with our Media, Digital, Account teams, we determined that this “big initiative” could actually become a huge opportunity for Civilian. So together, we tackled the following:

The problem? Awareness. People in the San Jose/Silicon Valley area would fight traffic and travel 30-40 minutes north to fly out of SFO/San Francisco when they had an amazing airport, literally, right in their backyard.

That one desire? To produce something “cool” that gets noticed and talked about.

Their request? Our client at SJC knew a musician from Santa Cruz who had produced a song that they felt would be great for the airport to leverage because it contained the lyrics, “where you wanna go?” He asked if we could find a way to somehow work it into the campaign. I had my reservations but after listening to it, I liked it. It had a nice hook and a melody I felt could eventually become “hum-worthy.”

We had our starting point.

But, how do we speak to the Silicon Valley community in a way that would resonate with them? After all, we know the business community in Silicon Valley isn’t your typical business community. Stand in baggage claim for 30 minutes and you might see 1 business suit. It’s full of young, diverse entrepreneurs and executives wearing jeans, Vans, beards, and backpacks.

We also know that airports are transitions, not destinations. So, whether you’re headed out on vacation, or just arriving for a do-or-die business meeting, you only come to SJC for one reason, and that’s to leave. We recognized this and embraced the fact that what SJC does best is getting people to go away and that’s when the platform “Go Somewhere” was born. And because it’s incredibly easy to get to and rather painless to navigate, it’s not your typical airport. It’s “The Least-Airporty Airport.”

We set out to create a campaign as simple as the experience itself, free of fluff. We demonstrated this through tongue-in-cheek language and simple, tech-friendly visuals that we believed would resonate with the community of Silicon Valley. Our Media and Digital teams found fun and interesting ways to help SJC to this story. From social posts and videos to static clings and bar coasters, the people of Silicon Valley now knew where to go to go away.



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