All that and a bag of SunChips: Brand-marketing targets air travelers

Is nothing sacred? It used to be that one of the few places you could escape the never ending onslaught of advertising was the bathroom, but even that’s changed, as public urinals and toilets have become mini-billboards.

That’s one of the few niceties of flying- it provides you with an excuse to turn off the Blackberry, close your eyes (to block out the ads posted to the seat back or on the in-flight TV monitor), and escape for awhile. Have a drink, a little snack…

Wait a minute. Is that…an advertising slogan on your peanuts? Brand in the Hand, a California-based company, now offers third-party advertisers the opportunity to repurpose snack bags, beverage cups, cocktail napkins and other on board consumables into promotional vehicles.

Explains Darrin Sarto, Director of Brand in the Hand, “Having that snack is a very positive part of the flight. You had to go through security, lug your baggage around, get seated and all of the [sic] sudden, the flight attendants are handing you a free bag of peanuts. And, oh, there’s a message to read.” Kind of like a fortune cookie…only totally invasive.

This month, Hilton Garden Inn initiated a campaign on board Delta flights advertising its “Cook-to-Order” meals on peanut and pretzel bags. Expect to see other Brand in the Hand ads on AirTran, Alaska, American, Continental, Southwest, and United.

“Getting our brand message in the hands of consumers…in the act of travel and thinking about hotel choices is an ideal marketing moment for us,” Jim Cone, Vice President of Marketing at Hilton Garden Inn, said in a release. How thoughtful.