United brings personalization to Super Bowl TV ads - Brand Innovators

United brings personalization to Super Bowl TV ads

While a Super Bowl media buy is made for broadcasting a message to anyone and everyone, United Airlines is taking a different approach. The company is bringing personalization, a digital marketing tactic, to the Super Bowl this year.

With 72andSunny, the airline has created six different in-game TV ads that speak to different audiences in regional markets. The spots star Emmy-award winning actor Kyle Chandler, who speaks directly to football fans in markets whose teams may not have made the big game.

“Not everyone who is watching the game is feeling the same way, in fact, the majority of viewers are watching someone else’s team play,” said Maggie Schmerin, chief advertising officer at United Airlines, during a Zoom press conference. “Given our nearly 50 year history of working with professionals football teams and the deep relationships we have with the communities we fly, we had a unique opportunity and the credibility to offer a personalized and authentic message of inspiration to those fans who, yes, might be watching the game this year, but in their hearts, they are already thinking ahead to their team’s chances next season.”

United is the official airline for the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, flying both teams to and from this weekend’s game in Las Vegas. The airline regularly adds extra flights along routes to support fans that commute to see their teams’ away games. 

The “Believing Changes Everything” campaign, marks the first time the brand has created tailored messages for so many markets. The approach builds on last year’s effort, in which the brand ran a local spot in the Denver market during the Super Bowl. “When we started thinking about how we wanted to show up for the big game this year, we knew we wanted to take a local-first approach,” added Schmerin.

This year’s market-specific ads will target Chiefs fans in Kansas City, Browns fans in Cleveland and Texans fans in Houston on broadcast TV, as well as Bears fans in Chicago and Broncos fans in Denver on social media. A general market film will also air in Chicago, Denver, Baltimore, Orlando, Colorado Springs and Cincinnati. Each of the local spots offers a heartfelt message about dreaming big for their team next year, and “believing so hard that you book your flight to next year’s game before the season even starts,” says Chandler in the spot, before a card flashes on reading “No fees to change your flight. Ever.”

United has saved customers more than $2 billion by dropping change fees three years ago during the pandemic, Linda Jojo, United’s chief customer officer, said during the press call. At the time, the brand was asking itself, “What did it mean to be a more customer-centric airline?”