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A sweet way to sell

By MARK ALBRIGHT, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 14, 2003

The workers at a California bakery must have thought they were outfitting a food fight when marketers from American Trans Air recently called in an order for 400 apple pies.

In fact, the pies were the latest marketing stunt pulled by the biggest airline at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, which goes by the the unusual FAA designation of PIE.

ATA, the airport and the local convention and visitors bureau split the $3,600 bill for the pies, which were delivered to California travel agents. The purpose of the culinary calling card was to promote ATA's new service from Los Angeles and San Francisco to PIE.

"When we made followup sales calls, everybody knew exactly who we were and where we came from," said Nancy Foster, direct sales director for the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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