As we head into the Memorial Day holiday, I am reminded of how unpleasant the ritual of air travel has become. Heading off for some marvelous R&R… but then rarely do you encounter a smiling face or a congenial fellow traveler— and let’s not even discuss the (un)friendliness of most airline employees.
To my delight, the SPCA in San Francisco introduced their “Wag Brigade” to San Francisco International Airport just before the last big holiday travel push. A select group of well trained and ubër cute dogs visited the airport on a daily basis to bring good cheer and smiles to air travelers. (Petting a dog even for just a few minutes has been proven to lower a person’s heart rate, relieve anxiety and reduce stress according to the SPCA.)
What a win-win for all. Passengers get the chance to encounter a happy, sweet, loveable lunk during stressful travels. The SPCA demonstrates to humans just how powerful the love of a dog can be, hopefully inspiring future dog adoptions, and SFO comes across as an airport that is trying to improve the overall air travel experience for everyone. Oh, and the dogs, well, they get lots of attention!
So, is this a big huge marketing idea? No, but sometimes it is the small “soft benefits” that make all the difference in the world. As marketers, everyone seems so focused on finding the next BIG THING that they completely neglect some of the smaller, totally within reach ideas that could really make a difference.
Next time I fly to the Bay area I, for one, will head for SFO instead of the Oakland airport for sure, and I will have lots of treats in my carry-on bag.