By Alison Weissbrot, Campaign US
United Airlines will move its creative account to 72andsunny, the company said Tuesday, ending a 10-year relationship with Dentsumcgarrybowen.
The review, which kicked off in February, asked agencies to pitch a brand and creative platform refresh during “the most sustained, seismic disruption in the history of commercial aviation,” a spokesperson told Campaign US in February.
The account will be led out of 72andsunny’s Los Angeles office, and creative will be focused on positioning United for “a strong recovery as demand for air travel returns,” a spokesperson said. United declined to share which agencies were involved in the pitch.
“We’ve spent the last year facing down the most disruptive crisis in our history by innovating at a record pace to better serve our customers under extraordinary circumstances – and our approach has set up United Airlines to emerge as the global leader in our industry,” Maggie Schmerin, managing director, advertising and social media at United Airlines, said in a statement.
United chose 72andsunny for their “thoughtful approach to strategic and creative direction,” and their willingness to “collaborate to achieve great work that builds on United’s rich history and capitalizes on our bright future,” Schmerin said.
“We’re excited about working with 72andSunny to build and bring to life an enduring creative platform that continues to strengthen United’s brand narrative,” she added.
“The people of United are ambitious, human and action-oriented,” said Matt Murphy, global co-chief creative officer at 72andsunny, said in a statement. “In our experience, that’s how you make the best work. We’re so excited to help put this iconic brand on the cultural map exactly where it belongs.”
Dentsumcgarrybowen created United’s 2020 Olympics campaign, which will debut in June. The airline’s roughly $80 million global media business will remain with Dentsu’s Carat, which won the consolidated account in 2018.
“We extend our gratitude to the entire Dentsumcgarrybowen team for their work and partnership,” United’s Schmerin continued. “Over the past decade, they helped bring to life many aspects of the United story, often going beyond an advertising partner. Their knowledge of our business, their professionalism and their camaraderie has always been valued.”
United is looking for a brand refresh as the accelerated pace of vaccinations causes air travel to pick back up in the U.S. Travel brands, which previously competed heavily on price, will now have to demonstrate their commitment to safety and cleanliness for wary post-pandemic travelers, leading to an emphasis on brand communications over performance marketing.
United has work to do to get back to growth. The airline lost $7.1 billion in 2020 and laid off thousands of employees since March 2020. United has raised more than $26 billion in liquidity to manage the losses.