American takes on United by touting more legroom

CHICAGO: American Airlines has launched a new campaign in rival United Airlines' hometown, touting American's efforts to provide more legroom.

CHICAGO: American Airlines has launched a new campaign in rival United Airlines' hometown, touting American's efforts to provide more legroom.

Weber Shandwick Worldwide is working with American to promote its "Best Legs in Chicago contest, which calls on Chicagoans to vote on 10 pairs of celebrity legs at aa.com/legs.

American is donating $1 per vote, up to $50,000, to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Coca-Cola is also taking part in the program, agreeing to donate up to $50,000. About 24,000 votes were cast in the first seven days of the effort.

The contest was put together by Momentum, an Interpublic-owned sales promotion agency. American hadn't been happy with prior sales promotion agencies it worked with, said Rob Britton, MD of advertising and marketing planning. "We've had mixed results because we're so different from the packaged-goods industry they normally work with, he said.

Britton wanted a new campaign to tout American's two-year-long effort to take seats out of its coach class to provide passengers with more legroom.

The idea of using legs seemed natural, and American wanted to launch the effort in a market where it competes with United, Britton said.

WSW is American's agency of record. The Chicago office is working to gain media exposure for the campaign. It first targeted local morning shows, getting an interview with the local NBC-owned station, and also setting up an August 20 spot on WGN.

WSW has also been bringing American Airlines mascots dressed like airline seats to local radio stations for interviews. WSW has provided one radio station with clues regarding the celebrities' identities, and is letting that station award free trips to London. Celebrity names will be released August 27.

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