In October 2023, Delta debuted its first 13-hour direct flight between Los Angeles, California and Auckland, New Zealand. To build awareness and interest in the new route, Delta’s marketing teams came together to ideate on how to support the launch. When considering the most cost-effective, social-first way to ignite excitement for this new route, two key truths were identified:
1. This new route would be a 13 hour flight. It would seem obvious to focus on Auckland, the destination, when looking to promote a new route, but the actual experience en route was what the social teams were most interested in promoting, because unlike some international flights from LA, a direct flight to Auckland is unique in being on the extended end of a long-haul flight.
2. Delta’s following has an appetite for airline acoustics. A past Delta TikTok including plane hum drove a flood of interest and audience commentary, encouraging the social teams to take note of the unexpected appetite for calming soundtracks that mimic the audible experience onboard with Delta.
The LAX > AKL launch presented the ideal time to combine the above two truths into a creative concept.
First the team considered how plane duration was a differentiator worth highlighting and quickly determined that YouTube would be the most appropriate platform for extra long-form content. Next, the team thought through what they’d learned from an earlier TikTok post with commentary requesting Delta create more plane ASMR content.
The concept was coming into focus. To promote this new route, the social team was developing an artistic version of Delta’s calming onboard experience of flying from LA to Auckland, in its entirety. Only one question remained: What visuals would make sense? To find that answer the team turned to ASMR’s ongoing popularity.
Within the ASMR genre, Lo-Fi Girl is a popular subgenre on the internet and typically reflects a particular animated aesthetic. Borrowing from that visual world, the team developed illustrations inspired by the types of relaxing views one could expect to see from a Delta window seat.
Soothing aerial landscapes including checkered green pastures, a city at night and relaxing cloudscapes became the visual direction. For the eagle-eyed viewers, a few “easter eggs” within the illustrations subtly hint at New Zealand’s culture — namely a sheep plushie, white wine and a book on fjords nestled next to the window seat passenger.
All and all, the video concept not only promoted Delta's new international route but also became a way to give the internet and Delta’s social following a calm and relaxing digital experience that can be enjoyed on the ground when someone might be looking forward to their next flight.
Delta’s 13 hour plane ASMR video brought in 270+ thousand views when combining metrics across YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, and fully delivered on the team’s goal of driving awareness for the route.
Additionally, the video generated overwhelmingly positive sentiment (86%) on YouTube, and commentary reflected the video's ability to express Delta’s brand difference with comments commending Delta on the video’s originality and creative quality. In other words, 13 Hour Plane ASMR wasn’t just effective at promoting Delta’s new route. The video also excelled at showing how Delta listened and delivered on its audience’s expressed passion for calming ASMR content.
Across TikTok and Instagram, sentiment for this video was also resoundingly positive coming in at 88% and 73% respectively. Even more telling, commentary on these platforms also showed strong demand for Delta to create more calming soundtracks featuring ambient plane hum in the future.
Finally, this video delivered on developing an innovative approach for route awareness in a cost effective way. CPVV (cost per video view) was the KPI for FB, and the target goal was $0.05. Reviewing performance, the video’s cost per view beat its goal with a $0.02 CPVV efficiency rate, and has been considered for entertainment beyond social given its ability to drive such high click views.