On Thursday, Sept. 26, we hosted a #unitedplanechat to answer our Twitter followers’ questions about United’s “Fly the Friendly Skies” brand campaign. The United team, including some members of our Marketing team supporting the campaign rollout – Valerie Waller, director, Brand Marketing; Karin Moan, director, Social Media, Samantha Petti, senior manager, Global Advertising; Leslie Lowe, senior manager, Global Advertising; Ryan Bujeker, senior manager, Digital Marketing Communications; Erin Anthony, senior marketing representative, Digital Communications; Brittany Glynn, senior marketing representative, Advertising – and representatives from mcgarrybowen, our creative agency, came together for an hour to respond to fans’ tweets.
We got the Tweetchat started with some facts and figures about the campaign, which features four TV commercials, two radio spots and a total of 26 print ads, billboards, airport signage and digital placements. The campaign is also featured in sports sponsorships and on our social media channels.
The evolution of the campaign
One of the first questions we received from our Twitter fans was how we came up with the term “flyer friendly.” Valerie explained that it’s our way of defining the user-friendly experience we aim to deliver to our customers every day. In a related topic, another fan asked, “Who made the decision to revive ‘Fly the Friendly Skies’?” Our answer: It was a team decision guided by customer and employee research.
The Tweetchat participants wanted to know the story behind the campaign, asking how long we’d been working on the launch (since the beginning of the year), how we’ll measure its success (more people flying with us, more often) and who designed the ads (the New York-based creative team at mcgarrybowen). Asked about the motivating factors behind the campaign, we shared that one of the primary goals is to highlight our recent investments in products and services.
Ryan fielded the question, “How did you strategize blending traditional with digital and social media marketing for the campaign?” He pointed out that we chose an integrated approach to reach people where and how they engage with media in various formats and channels.
Along with the more general questions about the campaign, our followers were curious about the details of everything from our “theme song” to how we produced individual commercials.
“Rhapsody in Blue”
We got the thumbs-up for continuing to use George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” which has been the musical score for United since 1987, in our commercials. One chat participant wrote, “Like rhapsody in blue!” Another wanted to know if any of the Tweetchat panelists had worked directly on scoring the version of “Rhapsody” in the commercials. Sam noted that we worked with a music composer and producer.
The “Orchestra” commercial
“Orchestra,” the first of our four TV commercials, proved to be a favorite among Twitter fans. In particular, the aircraft that we used for the “Orchestra” commercial was a big topic of conversation during the hour-long chat. (Read about the making of the commercial on the Hub.) Asked why we chose the Boeing 767-300ER instead of a 777 or 747, Sam noted that we filmed the commercial during our busy summer season and therefore used an aircraft that was available to us, which was returned back to regular service the day after it “starred” in the commercial. Given the popularity of the topic, we posted this behind-the-scenes photo taken on board the 767 during the filming.
The “Taxi” commercial
Before the chat concluded, we shared a link to our “Taxi” commercial on the Hub and asked our fans, “What is your favorite destination in our ‘Taxi’ spot?” This inspired several questions back to us. Someone wanted to know how our team decided which cities to highlight in that commercial. “They are representative of our global network and are some of our customers’ favorite destinations,” Sam responded.
In answer to the question, “Will your new campaign mean your social media presence will increase?” we responded that we’ve been moving full steam ahead for quite a while now. Speaking of social media, keep your eye on our Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn pages for more on our brand campaign. And stay tuned for our next Tweetchat, which we host regularly on Twitter.