IBM Passenger Hero

 

We collaborated with the IBM Originals team to tell the story of how IBM Cloud’s technology helped one mother reunite with her daughter during the devastating Hurricane Irma.

Deep into the 2017 hurricane season, the last thing Floridians wanted to hear about was another deadly storm. Following Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Texas, Hurricane Irma became the most powerful storm on record (185 mph Category 5) in the open Atlantic Ocean. A mandatory evacuation for 5.6 million residents was issued and over 15,000 flights were cancelled, leaving thousands of passengers with no travel access in and out of the area.

Simultaneously, technology developed by IBM was being used by a major airline to create a fast and seamless rebooking process for passengers through a new mobile app. The app allowed passengers to easily rebook alternative flights when their original flights were cancelled.

The rollout wasn’t scheduled for weeks, but with Hurricane Irma approaching, they raced to release the app in time to help stranded passengers.

IBM Originals wanted to uncover stories of passengers whose flights were cancelled and used the app to re-book in time to escape Irma as it was approaching Florida. With thousands of flights passing through the area, but only a small percentage of those passengers using the app, this was a bit of a ‘needle in a haystack’ search.

Our strategist used a focus group recruiter, contact database outreach, and social media blasts to find a dozen affected passengers. Through pre-interviews, we narrowed to three compelling stories of how customers were empowered and helped by the new service.

We chose the story of Nina, a mother traveling in the opposite direction of most passengers as the hurricane approached. Nina was trying to fly to Florida from Texas to reunite with her daughter before the storm hit.

Surrounded by footage from the hurricane and air travel, we put Nina at the center of the story. Atlas Production Group helped to build custom screens for use as the backdrop for atmospheric footage. A pee-wee dolly on a circular track was used to rotate the camera 360 degrees around Nina as she told their story.

The camera swirled around in a cyclical motion that mimicked the motion of the hurricane. This tactic allowed us to put Nina square into the environment, back in the headspace of the event, and practically in the center of the hurricane, which heightened the psychological effects of the storytelling.

The project became one of the first marketing films by IBM Originals to focus on storytelling. the video captured the emotional intensity of Nina’s journey and the help she was given by IBM’s technology. Without this dynamic booking process, she would have been stuck in Texas, separated from her family during one of the most devastating storms of the year.