Sun Country Airlines is a Minneapolis-based international airline focused primarily on family vacation and destination travel. Having undergone an ownership change and a shift in management, the airline was on an aggressive and aspirational growth path. But none of that was possible without pilots. Since 9/11, the entry of pilots into the workforce had slowed drastically because education is expensive and job opportunities are limited. Sun Country Airlines was looking for ways to attract and engage pilots interested in a certain lifestyle by being true to the overall corporate brand.
The airline wanted to establish itself as the ideal employer for pilots who are looking for something different. Competing against larger airlines with deeper pockets, proven stability, and benefits, efforts had to be driven by other proof points. We were asked to identify and elevate the proof points and then help reach a new pilot audience.
Since 9/11 pilots have been increasingly difficult to find and hire while the benefits Sun Country offers make it difficult for a small airline to compete with larger players.
We started with interviews focusing on new management team members, pilots at all stages in their careers, and a comprehensive competitive analysis to see what other airlines were offering. All this information pointed us to the crux of what this brand really is: a lifestyle brand at all points, consumer and professional.
Pilots had made the decision to fly for this airline largely due to intangibles. Although there were some pieces that other airlines couldn’t compete with, like two years to becoming a captain, or flying a Boeing 737-800. Pilots consistently selected this airline for employment because of the work/life balance and destinations offered.
We created a campaign that promoted work/life balance as its core called “Fly at the speed of life.™” Knowing pilots hold work/life balance higher than anything else, it made sense to use it as a proof point to attract other like-minded pilots and reinforce the existing culture within the airline.
Creative: “Fly at the speed of life” was the tagline created to capture the experience of flying for Sun Country Airlines and what its pilots valued most.
Poster Series: Visual cues using the biggest airline asset, the Boeing 737-800, were paired with lifestyle imagery to showcase the work/life balance Sun Country provides.
Recruitment Materials: Visuals were used alongside insights from the focus groups to support recruitment teams in reaching pilots in impactful ways.
Website: We designed and built a digital experience that helped support all recruitment materials developed.
In-Person Events: In-person recruitment events at universities were structured and orchestrated using the new campaign to attract young pilots to the company.
Earned Media: Public relations was used as a tool to help drum up press around the new programs Sun Country Airlines was developing to entice new pilots to the airline.
5MM Impressions and hundreds of pilots reached through the “Fly at the speed of life” Campaign.
The airline rolled out the new messaging at the University of North Dakota and Minnesota State University Mankato as the initial recruitment touchpoints. Over 200 students and instructors came out to engage with the airline resulting in all major publications in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area picking up the story for earned media placement upwards of 5M impressions.
The airline continues to use the campaign after seeing 18 months of success.