CHICAGO: United Airlines and Continental Airlines have confirmed the merger that the media had reported was in the works. The airlines announced the deal this morning, via a press conference, webcast, dedicated merger website at www.unitedcontinentalmerger.com, and news releases from the airlines and Sard Verbinnen.
According to a press release, the holding company for the new entity will be named United Continental Holdings, Inc. and the name of the airline will be United Airlines. The marketing brand will be a combination of both companies' brands, and the announcement campaign slogan is “Let's Fly Together.”
Tony Cervone, SVP and CCO at United, said Sard Verbinnen, Kekst, and APCO have been working on communications surrounding the merger, which is "a hugely comprehensive effort that involved the entire communications team internally and externally, coordination with government affairs, [and] the merger team."
United recently named Edelman its first AOR. At the time, Cervone dismissed any correlation between rumors of a merger and the length of the RFP process.
Of the impact of the merger on the relationship, as well as the agency's role in the announcement, Maxine Winer, EVP and deputy GM at Edelman, stated via e-mail, "The United Continental merger doesn't impact Edelman's role as United's AOR as all the foundational work we're doing still applies. Since the merger will take the rest of the year to close and another year to work toward a single operating certificate, we remain focused on the work at hand and won't speculate on what happens post close. As for communicating the news, all inquires are being directed back to United media relations."
A call to Continental was not immediately returned.