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Gogo Flying Food Truck
By: Victoria Hoey
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Inspector Gadget would be proud of the latest marketing campaign for Gogo, the leading provider of in-flight connectivity. Spring is less than one month away and so is the start of festival season. First on the calendar, South by Southwest (SXSW) March 7–16 in Austin, Texas. Here, there are more than 72,000 registrants and artists signed up and thousands of advertisers each vying for attention. So, Gogo decided that the best way to break through the clutter was to soar 30,000ft above it…and cover it in barbeque sauce.

Gogo is a relatively small company (having around 660 employees according to a NASDAQ report from last May) but what they lack in size they make up for in vision. To date they are the only company authorized by the FCC and FAA to use cellular frequencies for in-flight communication. This allows passengers to connect to the Internet from their personal Wi-Fi enabled devices and provides advertisers with the highly coveted “undistracted audience." In 2008 Gogo made their debut on a single commercial airplane. Now, they equip more than 2,000 airplanes on three major airlines:  American Airlines, Delta, and U.S. Airways. 

Making a name for yourself (as a company) is easier when there are no direct competitors in your field, but this company continues to deliver the most successful and unique marketing plans regardless of competition. Last weekend Gogo paired up with MonkeyBars (a company specializing in charrettes[1]) and sponsored a Hackathon in Chicago, Illinois. Participants were treated to “a creative environment for 26 hours with food, tech support, prizes… and coffee” while they worked on ways to improve the Gogo experience for travelers worldwide.

Yesterday on Twitter Gogo announced their plan for releasing a new text-and-talk service at SXSW and, you guessed it, their plan is a flying food truck! Passengers will get an hour-long ride in the company’s personal aerial test lab, which has been renovated to look like a food truck inside. “We’re going to feed them some of the best barbecue in the country and give them the chance to experience our new products,” said CCO Ash ElDifrawi to AdWeek. Gogo and barbecue have a long history. In fact it was at a barbecue joint in Denison, Texas where company founder Jimmy Ray first came up with his idea for a telephone system on aircraft and quickly scribbled it down on a paper napkin.

“SXSW is turning into a great platform for launching consumer hardware” said Ashwin Nathan, director-digital, Frito-Lay. And there is nothing better than launching a new service on a flying food truck. Good Job, Gogo! You make us proud.

[1] charrette |SHəˈret| noun:
a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and map solutions. New Oxford American Dictionary version 2.2.1 © 2005-2011 Apple Inc.

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About the Author
Victoria Hoey is a recent graduate with degrees in copywriting and advertising.
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