Tuesday, July 17, 2007

JetBlue execs back Mitt Romney and YearlyKos

Now I know what Bill O'Reilly was all hot and bothered about last night concerning JetBlue. (I was trying to make my way to HGTV as quickly as possible, so couldn't really follow it.) Anyway, it has to do with the airline's sponsorship of YearlyKos, an annual convention put on by the liberal-leaning Daily Kos folk. In the two minutes of The O'Reilly Factor I caught last night all I could figure out is that the airline's reputation got slammed in mid-February when many of its planes got stranded (knew that), that its founder had been kicked upstairs (knew that) and that O'Reilly found that whatever the new CEO did or did not say was full of shite, when he was stalked by Fox News concerning the controversy outside his Park Avenue apartment. It's interesting to see that right now JetBlue is by far the best-known sponsor of the August convention, unless one counts something like The Huffington Post, which would make news only if it didn't sponsor it. But, from a marketing perspective, what an odd idea. Even though the Dems would probably win the presidential election if it happened tomorrow, there's simply no point in big corporate sponsors putting their money where their politics lie—it should go without saying that the risk of alienating customers is simply too great. And once O'Reilly gets a hold of something like this, well, it knows no end. One wonders how long this sponsorship deal will last, and if current CEO David Barger even knew of the sponsorship. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that a CEO was clueless about his company's own marketing, and both Barger, and JetBlue founder and chairman David Neeleman have put money behind Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to the Web site Newsmeat. (Neeleman, like Romney, is a Mormon. For what it's worth, I don't know if Barger is.)

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