Hyundai and JetBlue Programs Help Offset Job Loss Consumer Fear

23 February 2009

Hyundai and Jet Blue provide us with two great examples of creative thinking at work with the current global financial crisis in mind.  Earlier this year Hyundai scored a huge hit with its “Hyundai Assurance Program” which offers consumers a bit of a safety net when buying a car – Hyundai will cover the deprecations on any returned vehicle for the first 12 months if anyone is unable to make a car payment (through a job loss, becoming disabled or losing their license for medical reasons).

Hyundai looked straight at a hurdle for consumers to buy a car – the possibility of losing their job and not being able to make payments – and lowered it, creating a huge amount of goodwill with consumers (and lots of media coverage too).  And, word out last week is that it worked – in January 2009 Hyundai posted a 14% increase in sales compared with January 2008.  And this came at a time when GM dropped 49%, Ford off 39% and Chrysler off 55%.

This week Hyundai sweetened the deal with the company’s Assurance Plus program.  Now if people lose their jobs Hyundai will actually pick up 3 car payments (paying the lender directly, not just adding 3 extra months to the end of the lease/sale), giving them 90 days to still have their car and look for another job.  Again, based on consumer insight, the company realized many people need a car even more when they don’t have a job to actually get to job interviews – so my bet is that consumers will continue to show Hyundai love with this new program.

And in the “imitation is the best flattery” category, lets check out Jet Blue Airways.  The company jusannounced a similar lose-your-job-safety-net with regard to buying airline tickets.  The company announced its “JetBlue Promise Program” which says the company will refund tickets that anyone personally paid for (instead of by the company) if they lose their job.  There are some fine print details regarding when you lose it, how you let JetBlue know, etc., but the sentiment is there – and this feels like a JetBlue promise, connecting back to some of the earlier days as a company who came on the scene as a truly consumer-first kind of company.

I won’t be surprised if we see more of this kind of assistance being offered.  These programs are classic examples of brands who understand in tough times that the right kind of creative thinking and innovation that connect to true fears/hurdles/challenges of consumers can help brands actually deepen bonds with consumers, positioning them well for when they come at the other end of the current economic climate.

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One Response to “Hyundai and JetBlue Programs Help Offset Job Loss Consumer Fear”

  1. Collective Conversation » Creativity in Public Relations » Blog Archive » No Doubt’s Concert Incentive Rocks

    [...] special promotion that is only made possible by the global financial crisis.  (Companies like JetBlue and Hyundai have been the most visible but lots are doing it.)  This week’s example comes from rock legends [...]

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