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Trick-shot artists help Southwest Airlines ticket loyal fans

“Dude Perfect” set up shop on a Southwest Airlines maintenance hangar recently, firing a basketball around to tie the airline’s loyalty program kickoff with the tipoff of March Madness – though, of course, companies are careful not to make the direct tie absent a formal contract with the NCAA.

Southwest teamed up with basketball trick-shot artists Dude Perfect to create entertainment for consumers when they reach the promotion site. Dude Perfect filmed basketball trick shots using a Boeing 737 in a Southwest maintenance hangar and around the company’s Dallas headquarters.

Southwest Airlines launched a sweepstakes on March 15 to promote its revamped Rapid Rewards loyalty program. The company will give away 10 million rewards points to existing and new members through the sweepstakes.

One hundred members will each win 100,000 “Rapid Rewards Points.” Non-members can sign up for the loyalty program to become eligible to win.
“One of the objectives of this promotion is to drive new membership across all demographics,” said Chris Mainz, senior specialist in communications at Southwest. “But the promotion is also meant to reward current members.”

YouTube and Twitter promos figure into the equation, of course. The company will unveil one “big shot,” along with the sweepstakes winners, on April 4.

“We’d seen and heard about Dude Perfect, and we wanted to tie the promotion into the excitement surrounding the NCAA basketball tournament,” said Mainz. Southwest launched a revamped Rapid Rewards program on March 1.

New program highlights include no blackout dates, seat restrictions or capacity controls, and points that don’t expire as long as members earn by flying or using a partner once every 24 months. Wunderman, which helped Southwest revise the rewards program, was not involved with the sweepstakes.

Dig Communications provided both PR support and the original concept behind the campaign, said Mainz. Southwest conducted a formal RFP process with “a couple of agencies,” he added, but he declined to reveal the other firms involved.

Southwest is conducting no paid advertising or marketing to promote the sweepstakes. The company will conduct all outbound communications via Facebook, Twitter and the company website.

Here are some of the highlights of Southwest’s new program:

  • No blackout dates Unlimited Reward Seats (no seat restrictions or capacity controls)
  • Points don’t expire as long as Members earn by flying or using a partner once every 24 months
  • Points are based on the purchased fare and fare product
  • Rapid Rewards Credit Card members can redeem their points for flights to more than 800 international destinations, stays at more than 70,000 hotels worldwide, and gift cards at more than 45 major retailers

About Dude Perfect

Dude Perfect is a group of six insanely competitive trick-shot basketball entertainers from Texas and they like to Go Big! The group’s website features their greatest shots including: “The World’s Longest Basketball Shot,” and a host of other amazing videos that have made them bona-fide internet superstars.

They’ve collected such accolades as MSN’s #1 Most Viral Video of 2009 as well as being listed by Advertising Age as one of YouTube’s Top 10 Brands. A recent gig with GMC was particularly notable.

Dude Perfect has been featured on a variety of National and International media outlets including Jimmy Kimmel, CBS Early Show & Evening News, ESPY’s Red Carpet, Good Morning America, Regis and Kelly, ESPN’s E:60, SportsNation and Fox & Friends.