In the fall of 2009, AirTran Airways was looking to launch an aggressive new multimedia online initiative — dubbed Inside AirTran — to communicate with its 8,500 employees, who are spread out across the country.
AirTran already had a daily e-mail blast, but knew that video was a much more effective means of getting message penetration. They were on the hunt for a production company that could not only make complex ideas simple and digestible, but package them in visually compelling, Web-ready, documentary-style videos.
Common Machine quickly outpaced the other production companies AirTran was trying out and we’ve been the airline’s exclusive production company ever since.
We’ve so far produced more than 30 videos for Inside AirTran. We’ve shot station visits in Boston, executive dunk-tank fund-raisers in Orlando, crew base openings in Milwaukee, and quick turns in Tampa. We’ve braved the paint bays in Miami to film the special livery paint jobs of the Indianpolis Colts, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Falcons, and Baltimore Ravens planes; we’ve sweated buckets on the tarmac in Orlando to document the Ramp Relay Championships, gotten wet for flight attendant life-raft training and given away bikes to underprivileged kids in Orlando. We even scored a minor YouTube hit (100K views and counting) with a viral video we made for AirTran when then rival (and now new owner) Southwest Airlines took a shot at them in a national commercial spot. (See the “Skip the Stampede” entry for the whole story.)
Since launching the employee-targeted site, AirTran has accumulated more than 250,000 page views and the site has become the go-to resource for crew members around the country. Nearly half of the airline’s employees have signed up for the site’s RSS feed as have several journalists that cover the company, competitors and the above mentioned new owner, Southwest.
It’s been a blast and — with our seats and tray tables in their upright and locked positions — we’re still enjoying the ride.