Sun Country Ad Brings D.C. Monument to I-494

The airline's new "soaring" campaign couples a 76-foot-tall replica of the Washington monument with a billboard and features ads on light-rail trains and other mediums.

It no longer requires a trip out East to spot the Washington monument-just take a drive down I-494 heading east.

What you'll see is a 76-foot-tall replica of the famous landmark, of course, and it's part of Mendota Heights-based Sun Country Airlines' new “soaring” ad campaign. The ads are meant to raise awareness of Sun Country's new daily service to Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport.

The daily flights from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Washington, D.C., began on April 1, according to Wendy Blackshaw, Sun Country's vice president of marketing and sales.

The “soaring” campaign-which was developed by the local office of ad agency BBDO-encompasses billboards, wrap-ads around light-rail trail trains (LRT), a new Web site (set to launch in July), and print, television, and radio ads.

“We are very excited about our new multi-faceted campaign, especially our life-size Washington Monument replica,” Blackshaw said in a statement. “We always try to incorporate something memorable and unique into our campaigns, and I believe building an actual replica of a national treasure qualifies. We want people to notice it and then remember us next time they are booking their travel.”

The LRT ads, as well as signs at the Mall of America, also include quick response (QR) codes, which allow passersby to snap a photo of the code with their smartphones to access additional information about Sun Country online. According to Blackshaw, the QR codes allow access to discount offers, fare sales, or trip giveaways.

You can also spot the “soaring” campaign on ads wrapped around an RV that will make rounds at summer events-including St. Paul Saints games, the Schwan's U.S.A. Cup soccer tournament, and at the Vikings' training camp.

The Washington monument replica-which supports a billboard at Highway 494 and 24th Avenue-may represent new territory for Sun Country's advertising efforts, but the wrap ads resemble a campaign launched last fall, through which more than 60 employees volunteered to place ads on their personal cars to showcase various travel destinations.

And the company earlier this month launched a promotion through deal-of-the-day Web site Groupon, offering coupons for $180 domestic flights and $320 flights to Mexico.

Sun Country, which was established in 1982, offers flights to destinations in the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The company entered bankruptcy in October 2008, from which it emerged in February after receiving court approval last September for its reorganization plan.

Court documents filed earlier this year indicated that the company was on track to being sold in the near future, but increasing oil prices were presented a challenge in securing a deal.