Delta’s uniform upgrades put the airline in a plum spot among the competition.

Delta Airlines has had more than a few moments in the spotlight lately—few of them good. But the airline hopes its latest effort to stand out among other U.S.-based airlines will paint a prettier picture of the company.

After a survey revealed passengers can’t tell the difference between airline uniforms—which are primarily shades of blue among most airlines—Delta officials worked with designer Zac Posen to develop a line in a dark shade of purple dubbed Passport Plum. 

Posen shadowed Delta employees in order to design uniforms that accommodated the types of work they do. Employees tested prototypes and provided feedback to influence the final designs, which still include Delta’s traditional ladies’ scarf and men’s tie.

While it was originally intended as a highlight color in Delta’s uniform collection, Passport Plum is now the primary shade for 64,000 employees. After a soft launch in January, the uniform was officially rolled out at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, which is Delta’s home hub, at the end of May. 

How Sweet It Is

London gin maker deploys ‘scent’sory advertising to market a new product.

London tube stations are known more for their iconic ‘Mind the Gap’ signage than they are for their smell—but London spirits company Pernod Ricard U.K. aims to make commuting more pleasant while also boosting awareness for its new gin variety.

Pernod installed strawberry-scented posters throughout the Oxford Circus underground station as part of its launch campaign for Beefeater Pink, a rosy twist on Beefeater London Dry Gin. The posters were designed by independent agency Impero in collaboration with media partners Posterscope, Havas and Exterion. 

Four exit corridors and a vinyl-wrapped escalator will emanate the scent of the summer fruit for just two weeks. Pernod says the campaign is designed to attract the attention of Millennial commuters, who not only show an affinity for the soft color but also tend to choose food and drink that look as good as they (supposedly) taste.

Outside The  Demographic Box

Viewing diversity as a business strategy has  immeasurable benefits for your bottom line.

by Julie Kwan

If your company’s standard protocol for increasing workplace diversity stops at the demographic questions on an application, it may be time to rethink how you recruit new employees. Amazon’s board of directors is doing just that. The online giant made news, and upset its employees, when it opposed a proposal by shareholders to formally consider female and minority board candidates. 

After the uproar, the board reversed its decision and adopted a rule that mirrors a policy implemented by the National Football League. The NFL’s Rooney Rule requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. The hope is that Amazon’s new strategy will add diversity of thought to the board, and thus better represent the diversity found in its client base.

Building a diverse workforce enhances a company in multiple ways, and turning your workplace diversity efforts into a business strategy can have numerous benefits for the team:

1. You’ll attract a more diverse client base. When it comes to sales, customers are more likely to buy from companies they can relate to. Having a diverse salesforce can help you expand your client base and reach people you may not have been able to reach before.

2. You’ll build your brand as an employer. Working with a diverse group of people is becoming increasingly important to workers. This is particularly true with Millennials and Generation Z. A diverse workforce signals to them that your work environment is inclusive and collaborative.

3. You’ll foster creativity and innovation. Employees who are of a different gender, age group, race, educational background, etc. can bring a different perspective to the conversation. 

4. You’ll be better prepared for the future. No matter the size of your business, it’s important to plan for the future. What’s going to happen to your business when you move on? Whether you’re planning to ensure your business lives on or to ensure your customers continue to receive great care—or both—who will be your successor? Invest in your talent pool now: Identify the employees who have what it will take to drive your business forward and help them develop their leadership skills.

Your business can benefit when you build diversity into your strategy, and you can begin to develop that strategy by examining the current level of diversity in your organization. Does your workforce include people of different genders, generations, races or backgrounds? If so, you’re off to a good start. If not, now is a good time to consider a diversity management strategy to increase your competitive advantage.

Julie Kwan is the diversity and learning engagement manager  at PPAI. Contact her at or 972-258-3018.

FIVE MINUTES WITH Sally Rhoden, retired foundation director for  Cobb Hospital and Medical Center

Cultivating Connections

How one promotional products partnership grew support for a horticulture therapy garden

This “Five Minutes With” is the final installment of a series of Q&As with buyers who shared how they use promotional products and why. This month’s Q&A is with Sally Rhoden, retired foundation director for Cobb Hospital and Medical Center, who has worked with Marsha Londe, owner of Tango Partners in Atlanta, Georgia.

PPB In what industry/company were you employed when you worked with Marsha Londe, and what was your role?
Rhoden I first began working with Marsha in the late 1980s, when I was employed as Community Relations Director at Ridgeview Institute in Smyrna, Georgia. 
I left Ridgeview in 1991 to begin a foundation at Cobb Hospital and Medical Center. This is where the majority of my work with Marsha occurred.

PPB What were your impressions of how promotional products could be used before you began working with Marsha?
Rhoden Before I experienced Marsha (and she is an experience), I never really understood how promotional products could affect the success of a project. Before I became involved
in trying to raise money for the hospital, I had only used promotional products as giveaways for employees or volunteers, as a “thank you” or for name recognition.

PPB What have you learned about the impact of items in delivering your message?
Rhoden  I saw firsthand through Marsha’s experience and creativity how promotional products can absolutely give a project focus and “life,” and exposure.

PPB What have been some of your favorite products/programs, and why?
Rhoden  The biggest and most successful project I have done was with Marsha, and it was called “Bring a Garden to Life.” It carried the double meaning of creating a garden that would bring pleasure to the lives of patients, family and staff. If my memory serves me, Marsha came up with the whole concept, as I was raising money to build a horticulture therapy garden
at the hospital as the first real project of the foundation.

From that initial concept, pins that read “I helped bring a garden to life” were worn by employee donors all over the hospital, and larger donors received framed prints of the garden with personalized plaques indicating annual gifts to the garden for the coming years. When we had our big opening in 1993, we had other items, such as sun visors and gardening aprons, printed with “I helped bring a garden to life.” Today, some 25 years later, brain-injured and post-stroke patients are still doing horticulture therapy in raised beds in this beautiful spot.

PPB How have the recipients of your products (as giveaways or thank-you gifts) responded?
Rhoden It became “the thing to do” to have a framed print of the garden hanging in your office, or having a pin to wear on your uniform at the hospital, which translated into more dollars to pay for the garden. This was a very popular campaign, and one that people could really relate to.

PPB  What advice would you give to another organization or business that’s considering working with a consultant?
Rhoden  I am now a huge believer in working hand in hand with a promotional products professional. A real pro will see “the big picture” and introduce aspects of a coordinated campaign that you might never think of.

Catching On And Cashing In

Lessons you can take from 10 viral campaigns to make your own marketing gold.

Effective marketing, we all know, is about putting the right message in front of the right audience, and Entrepreneur magazine recently lauded 10 companies for their clever marketing moves, which went viral for myriad reasons. Beyond the obvious lesson that creativity is at the core of great marketing, here are a few more to add to your campaign playbook.

1. Let feedback lead you. The creators of the Gravity Blanket began marketing their weighted wonder with language that implied science-backed benefits, but they soon found that what people wanted from the product couldn’t be described in scientific terms. 

Feedback from potential consumers drove the creators to steer their campaign toward a lifestyle approach, collaborating with influencers and popular retailers. Sales have since hit $15 million, allowing the founders to explore a product line expansion.

2. Appeal to your audience’s unique strengths. A state-centric promotional organization might be forgiven for not getting much attention outside the borders of its beloved home, but Kentucky For Kentucky was bold enough to reach out to a select audience with a particular idiosyncrasy. 

An ad placed in Oxford American magazine—a literary pub that features Southern writers—contained a deliberately misspelled word, and a tongue-in-cheek footnote of acknowledgement.

3. Get weird. IKEA is no stranger to oddity. In addition to utterly unpronounceable product lines (for English-speaking customers, at least), the Swedish superstore sells soft hats sewn to look like brains, and a wicker rocking chair no one can quite figure out how to sit in. 

But when IKEA launched its latest print campaign asking consumers to pee on the ads, it upped the weird factor exponentially. The paper was treated with the same chemicals used in home pregnancy tests, and consumers who did the deed and got a ‘positive’ result saw a discount price for an IKEA crib revealed on the ad.

To learn about the rest of the ads and find more inspiration for your next marketing campaign—or your client’s—visit

Jen Alexander is associate  editor of PPB.