Fort Worth, TX: American Airlines (AA) is turning a coincidence into a PR opportunity.
The two cities hosting the NBA Finals this year are also major AA hubs, and the airline holds naming rights to the arenas in both cities. The series between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat is being held at Dallas' American Airlines Center and Miami's American Airlines Arena.
AA launched the "All American Series" campaign on June 8, the night of the first Finals game. Weber Shandwick, which works consistently with the airline, is doing media.
According to AA spokesman Tim Wagner, there have been dozens of prizes given out already, including first-class flight vouchers to anywhere AA flies hidden in t-shirts that are shot from cannons into the stands during the games.
The airline is also giving out prizes in parking lots before the games to fans who can spot the "American Airlines Road Warrior," a mascot that fans can view on www.aa.com/hoops. Fans who spot the mascot and tell it the secret code word from the Web site receive free prizes.
Wagner said that there are about a dozen people working on the campaign, including representatives from WS.
"We had four business days from the time that we knew for sure this would happen to the time of the first event," said Wagner. "We know that people identify themselves with their sports teams. We also know that they identify their cities with their sports teams. So for us to be affiliated with that, we not only get the promotional value, but we get some good citizen value, as well."