Honor Flight 2016 – Heros’ Homecoming

Public Relations Campaigns - Large Airport

MIA created a multi-faceted public relations program centered around MIA’s hosting of a unique honor flight on April 2, 2016, with the non-profit, Honor Flight of South Florida (HFSF). The iconic Eastern Air Lines carried 77 World War II and Korean War veterans and 77 Vietnam War veterans who traveled as their “Elite Guardians”. The vets traveled to Washington, D.C. for a day of sightseeing to visit the memorials dedicated in their honor. The inclusion of the Vietnam veterans was a first-ever event which added an even-greater emotional element to the events. The veterans departed on flight number 1941, the first year of the war, and returned on flight 1945, the year the war ended. The campaign included print, digital, radio, hometown in-airport parade and homecoming, a press event, social media and video production and included strategies to target local and national attention.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

Honoring these men and women who so richly deserve it while we still can; creating a public relations campaign around this unique honor flight; positioning MIA as a good community citizen while leveraging the emotion of this historic flight.

2. Production: 

MIA’s PR Program Included:

  • Publicizing and promoting the flights, homecoming events and “Mail Call” initiative
  • Homecoming attended by 2,000 members of the media, friends and families
  • In-house creation of graphics, ads, signage, digital, web and social media banners
  • A “Mail Call” initiative to rally MIA’s employees and airlines in a letter-writing campaign for the vets, not unlike those they witnessed while serving overseas
  • Creating, producing and editing a commemorative event video – to view video, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGOyUMSYNEY
  • Social media and digital initiatives, with the hashtag #MIAsalutes, in the weeks leading up to the event
  • Branded #MIAsalutes initiative, selfie frames, print/digital signs, including a75’ LED digital billboard honoring “Hometown Heroes”
  • Water cannon salute, marching bands, honor guards and police escorts
3. Evaluation: 
  • Extensive media coverage picked up by 268 publications such as the Boston Globe, Miami Herald for a net 395,000 headline impressions, including MIA official appearances on radio stations and TV.
  • 2,000 well-wishers, a presidential candidate, local officials and military officials and media
  • Social media reach (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram): Over 800,000 impressions
  • Video views (Youtube): +4,000
  • Over 700,000 impressions for the #MIASalutes hashtag in 5 days
  • Post-event recognition from veterans, HFSF and military officials
  • Over 2,000 personalized veteran thank you letters, a one-of-a-kind campaign according to HFSF officials
  • Countless post-event thank you letters from veterans, their families, and HFSF
4. Budget: 

Total campaign cost: $7,500

  • Creation of video- $5,000 (costs underwritten by FPL)
  • In-house graphic design- $1,000
  • In-house printing - $1,000
  • Digital Advertising- $500