JetBlue: Promo Not a Prank

Students feared repeat of infamous 2004 Yale prank at The Game

The Game 2006: low on alcohol, high on paranoia.

E-mail lists across campus were abuzz yesterday with rumors that a JetBlue campus promotion that has students wearing blue and yelling “go blue” to win free plane tickets is actually a prank engineered by Yale students. But according to JetBlue spokeswoman Sharon Jones and JetBlue campus representative Taylor M. Owings ’08, the promotion is not a prank.

“The promotion is real,” Jones said. “Students will be able to win free tickets if they wear blue and say ‘go blue.’”

Kristin Morgan, a brand engagement manager for Mr. Youth LLC—a marketing firm that works with JetBlue, also confirmed in an e-mail that “Blue Day” is not a prank.

“Blue Day is by no means a prank event, and has no affiliation with Yale University,” Morgan wrote.

Many students voiced suspicion over the promotional campaign which had been advertised over various e-mail lists, citing similarities with the highly publicized 2004 Yale student prank that involved tricking Harvard students and alums to form a “we suck” sign at The Game.

“Of course it’s unfortunate that our rival happens to be blue and it’s so close to The Game, but I didn’t decide on the date or the slogan,” Owings said. “All of the campuses will be doing this [today].”

Students’ concerns were heightened when an e-mail from Quincy House tutor Matthew A. Schiffler to the Quincy House e-mail list was widely forwarded across campus. In the e-mail, Schiffler stated that he had spoken to a JetBlue representative who knew nothing of the promotion.

Schiffler, who is a Chemistry graduate student, confirmed in a phone interview yesterday that he did in fact call JetBlue when he heard about the suspicions surrounding the JetBlue promotion from a student in his lab. The JetBlue employee he spoke to did not know about the promotion, he said.

“I just called their 800 number and spoke to a representative who looked at their promotion list on the computer,” Schiffler said. “If it is a real promotion then I do regret it.”

But Morgan said that the representatives who respond to the 1-800-JetBlue customer service number would not know about the promotion.

“Of course they are not going to know about that. The 1-800 is a customer service number.” Morgan said.

Laurel A. Macey ’09, who also authored a widely forwarded e-mail claiming that the promotion was a hoax, confirmed to The Crimson last night that she had called the same customer service number as Schiffler.

After being contacted by The Crimson and Owings, Schiffler sent an e-mail to the Quincy-Open list apologizing for arousing false concerns.

“I’m sorry for misleading people and I especially apologize to the folks here at Harvard running the promotion,” Schiffler wrote.

Owings said that she has sent photographs of her administering previous Jet Blue events and the press release announcing her appointment to the position of JetBlue campus representative to those students who have e-mailed her personally questioning the validity of the promotion. The Crimson also received and reviewed the photos and press release last night.

Owings added that she will try to assuage student concerns about the promotion by encouraging them to say “go JetBlue” instead of the more ambiguous “go blue.”

Ironically, according to Owings, Yale students will not be participating in the same promotion because Connecticut isn’t a service area for JetBlue. But the Stanford JetBlue campus representative, senior Ayo Jimoh, confirmed that today is "Blue Day" at Stanford.

Yale College Council Secretary Zach P. Marks, a sophomore, said that any prank plans on behalf of the Elis are “strictly confidential” and that he could not comment on any potential collusion with JetBlue.

“I can’t disclose that information at this point,” Marks said.

—Staff writer Evan M. Vittor can be reached at evittor@fas.harvard.edu.