Hat tip to my colleague Eric Olesen for pointing me in the direction of today’s post. Last week I wrote about Ryanair signing a deal with INK to show ads on their boarding passes: (the media model is a hot topic right now). I’ve reproduced part of that post below:

With much of the world apparently moving more to a Groupon-like model, maybe the Ryanair idea of concentrating more on airport offers than on destination content might result in a better take-up (and definitely better trackability) of the offers. In the article, the CEO of Ink (company behind the solution for Ryanair) seems to be implying this, claiming that initial contracts are already being signed with advertisers priced at several times the rate for similar web ads.

Speaking of Groupon, I recently received a new home phone number and it turns out to be the old number of one of the many Groupon clones in existence. Now my home phone is running off the hook with bizarre enquiries which I am sure you can appreciate is a far from my ideal way to spend evenings at home! But back to INK.  It seems not everyone is happy with the Ryanair deal. The text below was posted on a Linked-in forum in response to a comment by the ancillary revenue manager at Spanish LCC Vueling, Maria Cardenal.

Mark Scott: Maria, You are right airlines have been doing this but not in a dynamically targeted way ie most messages are fixed. Sojern does something like this on Passes but not on all document types, eTicket Confirmations, mobile and Print-at-Home. Securidox does and introduced INK to the proprietary concept when they sold advertising on VLM’s confirmation. We are currently taking legal advice

This is the same Mark Scott as quoted below in an April 2010 press release about Qantas and their mobile boarding passes.

Mark Scott, Managing Director of Securidox, explains “Research shows that traditional check-in systems cause significant dissatisfaction at the airport with the process being too time consuming and stressful. The mobile check-in system offers a convenient solution for passengers and positive brand reinforcement for the airline. There are also excellent opportunities for revenue generation through advertising targeted to the passenger profile.”

So Securidox are on the record with this idea almost a year ago, and maybe they’ve had it for longer than that, but it seems whenever the topic of ads on boarding passes comes up, everyone finds the need to refer to Sojern. I asked Patrick Fisher who is their VP of Business Development to respond:

Sojern has strategically partnered with the leading airlines and travel industry organizations to deliver dynamically targeted and useful destination information and offers for Travelers since 2008. In essence, every boarding pass with Sojern content is customized in real-time based on the trip details of each particular trip. Sojern’s innovative approach also allows advertisers to reach audience segments throughout the travel continuum and increase campaign performance on premium web sites as well as impactful airline space such as print-at-home boarding passes and itineraries.

But with all this bickering over who was first to really understand the potential of segmented promotions in passenger communications (and to implement!), please read this link from a few years ago, as it was none of the companies mentioned so far in this post. The funny part is that Eric Olesen actually played a big role back then in making it happen.