JetBlue Gets Silly with Badges

Ever feel like the corporate use of social media was little more than the crassest form of pandering and manipulation?

You know, those hotel postings on Facebook that wonder what you're doing this weekend, or whether you're the kind of traveler who prefers brogues or flipflops. Or the airline posts extolling the natural beauty of Island X, which just happens to be their next flight destination.

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Yes, yes, travel marketers want consumers to "engage" with their companies. And these chummy "conversations" are supposed to nourish that engagement.

Apparently intent on establishing itself as the Grand Poobah of travel engagers, JetBlue this week introduced TrueBlue Badges.

According to JetBlue, "TrueBlue Badges is a new and exciting way to get rewarded for JetBlue-related activities. Join. Collect. Connect. Compete ... Based on your activity, you will build a personalized and interactive map that you can share with your friends and family."

Got that? If not, you're not alone.

Pared down to its essentials, TrueBlue Badges are awarded for a host of social media activities, and yes, even some travel activities. There are 292 Badges in total, 30 for loyalty, 245 for travel, and 17 for partner activities.

Examples:

  • Welcome Badge for reading the Badges tutorial (with 100 TrueBlue points)
  • Facebook Friend Badge for connecting your Facebook account (with 500 points)
  • Barbados Badge for flying to Barbados
  • Homesweet Hilton Badge for staying at a Hilton hotel

Although points are awarded in conjunction with a few Badges, for most activities, you are rewarded with nothing but a Badge.

There's a dashboard display that shows which Badges you've earned, and how your earnings compare to other TrueBlue members'.

Your Loyalty for a Badge

Wow! So much time, energy, and expense invested in a project with so little real payoff for customers.

Your loyalty for a badge? Maybe, but not mine.

Reader Reality Check

What is JetBlue thinking?

This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.

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