How a Frontier Airlines Pilot Used Pizza to Create Goodwill for His Brand


A passenger sent NBC 9NEWS this photo of Frontier crew handing out pizza aboard the delayed flight. (Photo: Logan Marie Torres)

A passenger sent NBC 9NEWS this photo of Frontier crew handing out pizza aboard the delayed flight.
(Photo: Logan Marie Torres)

Public relations professionals are tasked with generating positive visibility for their brands, and one of the best ways to do so is to enlist the help of a recognizable brand ambassador. These spokespeople are often brought in as hired hands and have no prior connection to the company, helping to boost a company's reputation through things like testimonials and speeches.

The formula for brand ambassadors is changing, though, as companies realize that they don't need to look outside of their organizations to find people with the best ideas for generating good buzz. Increasingly, employees already in an organization's ranks are proving themselves as the best brand ambassadors.

A storm that passed through the Midwest on Monday night offered up a golden opportunity for one such rank-and-file representative to generate positive coverage for his company, and he did so using one of the world's most universal forms of beneficence—free pizza.

Gerhard Bradner, a Frontier Airlines pilot whose Denver-bound plane was diverted to Cheyenne because of a storm, knew that his passengers would be hungry waiting on the tarmac to be cleared to proceed to their destination. Upon landing at around 10 p.m. local time on Monday, he phoned the Cheyenne Domino's Pizza and ordered about 50 pizzas to feed the nearly 160 passengers on his plane, according to Colorado's NBC affiliate, 9NEWS. Thirty minutes later, the pizzas were delivered to the delight of the passengers, who documented the episode through pictures and videos which eventually made it into coverage on NBC News, the Huffington Post and Fox News, among others.

Diverting any potentially negative story about air traffic delays, Bradner instead delivered a massive media hit for Frontier—all for the price of 50 pizzas.

Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene


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