To drive awareness and trial of its new Chromebook, Google in July launched a lending program through experiential partnerships with Virgin America airlines and the Ace Hotel in New York City.
Chromebook is a personal computer that runs on Google’s Chrome OS operating system. Google announced the new product at its I/O developers conference this past May and began selling it a month later at amazon.com and bestbuy.com. Since Chromebooks are only available online, the lending program offers users a chance to experience the product for an extended time, while they are in the air or in their hotel room using a free WiFi connection.
“We didn’t want the experience to be too brief or too typical,” Heaven Kim, product marketing manager at Google, told Buzz. “At the end of the day, a web browser is a core part of people’s computing experience. If they start using it, they realize this is true.”
The program, which ends Sept. 30, places Chromebook in the hands of consumers for long periods of time, when they are in-flight or in their hotel room, times when they often are in need of a computer and an internet connection. Travelers who are flying on Virgin America between its home airport in San Francisco to either Boston, Chicago O’Hare or Dallas may borrow a Chromebook to use in-flight, then return it when they land. Others who may be more pressed for time can demo it at kiosks located in the airport. Ace Hotel guests find the Chromebook attractively packaged in a felt-like holder and placed on their bed when they enter their room. The Chromebook is loaded with an app, created with the hotel, that informs users of things to do and places to visit while they are in town.
“Travelers are a good market because they are open minded and in need of something like this, but they are not the main target, which is anyone who uses the web intensively,” Kim said. “This provides users a good experience with the product in the right context.” Agency: MKTG, New York City.