United Seeks to Boost Its Intrastate Flights

Ads: United Airlines’ new print and outdoor campaign for its shuttle service

Agency: Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis

Marketing challenge: Distinguish United from its chief competitor, Southwest Airlines. The lighthearted tone of United’s previous ads made it seem similar to Southwest.

Solution: United stresses its dominance on the Los Angeles-San Francisco route and touts the superiority of its frequent-flier program: “Free trips anywhere they fly vs. free trips anywhere we fly. Hmmmm.” United said the ads, which don’t mention Southwest by name, resulted from extensive research showing that shuttle passengers value a strong daily flight schedule and mileage reward programs.


Result: You wouldn’t know from the ads that United is the underdog on routes from the Los Angeles Basin to the Bay Area. Southwest, which dominates intrastate flights to and from Oakland with a strong flight schedule of its own, handles 50% of shuttle traffic, compared with United’s 30%. $$


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