While Republicans and Democrats cross swords over voter registration in several states, they might want to pause at some point and look up at any Virgin America flight they happen to see in the sky today.
Because that’s where new opportunities for voter registration are headed – 35,000 feet in the air.
Along with the San Francisco-based carrier’s launch Tuesday of the first nonstop flight from San Francisco International Airport to Washington DC’s Reagan International Airport, Virgin has lined up a special partnership with LA-based PromoJam and the Rock the Vote organization. That partnership will allow guests on Virgin flights, as of Tuesday, to use their smartphones to register to vote.
Flyers will be able to scan a QR code on the airline’s “Red” seat-back, in-flight entertainment system using a scanning app from RedLaser. A mobile page powered by LA-based social media marketing company PromoJam will then launch on the phone, and from that page passengers can watch educational videos, take a variety of social actions and register to vote.
It’s another in a recent spate of big announcements for PromoJam, the co-founder of which (Amanda MacNaughton) Forbes named just last week to its list of women to watch who are building enterprise social media marketing companies. Earlier this year, PromoJam also raised $1.2 million in funding from Golden Seeds and Band of Angels, and the company runs social media campaigns for entertainment and retail brands including NBC Universal, in addition to Rock the Vote.
PromoJam and Rock the Vote have been working on a joint effort for a couple of months now that seeks to register 1.5 million young people to vote in the fall presidential election. And the Virgin news is an outgrowth of the fact PromoJam and Rock the Vote have made what may be the first big voter registration drive using smartphones.
MacNaughton said the campaign both acknowledges the limitations of current voter registration laws (online registration is now only allowed in less than a dozen states) but is also an attempt to move the needle on registering more people to vote. She wants the campaign, in her words, to change the way voter registration works across the country.
Virgin, meanwhile, went all out for its Tuesday announcements, with a red, white, and blue sendoff for the first flight to Reagan International from San Francisco International’s Terminal 2, including Romney and Obama impersonators scheduled to be on hand, as well as Virgin America president and CEO David Cush.
The new air service will complement Virgin’s existing service between SFO and Washington Dulles International Airport. The new flight to Reagan International will leave San Francisco daily at 8:00 am PT and touch down in DC at 4:05 pm ET, and the westbound flight will leave DC at 5 pm ET and arrive in San Francisco at 7:40 PT.
[Photos courtesy of Amanda MacNaughton]