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United Airlines’ New Ad Stars 12 Athletes from Team USA

@SamShankman

Feb 05, 2014 4:00 pm

Skift Take

United is vying for a viral ad by making brand ambassadors out of Olympics stars. Anything to take the focus off the airline’s ongoing post-merger blues.

— Samantha Shankman

The Future of Meetings in the Hospitality Industry

 / United Airlines

Twelve Olympic athletes star in United's new ad. / United Airlines


United Airlines celebrated its 34th year as the official airline of Team USA with a new ad starring 12 Olympic athletes.

Speed skaters, para-alpine skiers, and bobsledders filmed the ad in a United hangar in Los Angeles and are today posting links in a behind-the-scenes campaign on social media using the hashtag #AthletesAboard.

“As the official airline of Team USA for the past 34 years, we are again flying U.S. athletes to training events, competitions, U.S. Olympic Team Trials and the Olympic Winter Games,” said United’s senior VP of marketing and loyalty Tom O’Toole in a statement.

Olympic athletes are typically banned from advertising endorsements during the Games, but United’s ads are acceptable because the airline has paid to become an official sponsor.

In addition to traditional TV and print advertising, United is also sponsoring posts on Buzzfeed as part of its Olympics marketing push.

The airline is also collecting all related tweets on a new social hub.

The campaign was developed by global creative agency McGarryBowen.

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