#UA747Farewell was an initiative to honor United's 747 aircraft on its final flight from San Francisco to Honolulu. Known as the "Queen of the Skies," the Boeing 747 is a revolutionary aircraft that had built up a considerable fan base during its career and was loved by customers and crew alike. To commemorate the retirement of United's most memorable aircraft, we recreated its very first flight from SFO to HNL, complete with vintage uniforms and a Hawaiian-inspired menu. To raise awareness of this event and recap its success, we leveraged all social channels to tell the story of the 747—from its first commercial flight in 1970 to its heroic farewell on November 7, 2017.
In 2017, on United's social media pages, video content outperformed all other types of posts. For example, Facebook posts that included video received 28.9% more reach on average compared to other Facebook posts, and video content on Twitter received 61.7% more retweets on average compared to regular tweets. Using this insight, our objective for the #UA747Farewell campaign was to tell the story of United's most memorable aircraft through video content that was optimized for each social channel.
Though customers view United as an established, trusted brand, we're always looking for new ways to build personal relationships with our followers. We saw the world's connection with one of the most recognizable aircrafts in the world, the "Queen of the Skies," as an opportunity to both humanize United by sharing a more personal side of our history and develop a genuine emotional connection with followers on all social channels. To foster this connection with United's followers, we had a two-tiered approach.
First, we became a reliable and friendly source of information for followers. We offered interesting facts about the aircraft and its history—from its dimensions, to what food was served on board when it first took flight—through documentary-style videos. Each video served a specific purpose in telling the overall #UA747Farewell story. For example, our six-minute long 747 bio piece took a comprehensive look back at the aircraft's 47-year history. Featuring first-person perspectives from those who knew her best, including pilots, flight attendants and passengers, as well as rarely seen archival footage and photography from United and Boeing, we were able to communicate how and why she won the hearts of so many during her nearly 50 years of service. Then, to offer more snackable content, we posted a one-minute video that gave followers a unique view up the stairs into the 747's coveted upper deck. With interviews from former flight attendants, footage from its earliest flights in the 1970s and current UGC, we were able to demonstrate why sitting in the upper deck was being part of the best party in the sky.
Secondly, we communicated the emotional significance of the #UA747Farewell by documenting the celebration from the point of view of employees and passengers who remembered the aircraft so fondly. We recapped the event with an energetic, four-minute long video. Through this video, we were able to bring more than one million viewers on board the historic farewell flight and feature a range of guests from United CEO, Oscar Munoz, to the daughter of the captain who flew United's first 747 flight. Overall, this recap video captured the emotional resonance of the event from start to finish, and allowed followers who couldn't attend to experience it with us.
-4.9MM total video views
-26MM impressions of video posts
-868k total engagements on video posts
VIDEO #1: BIO VIDEO
This video made up 77% of total video views for all YouTube videos between September and November.
-359k video views
-901k video views
VIDEO #2: UPPER DECK
This video received 65% more engagements compared to the average Twitter post during this time period.
-356k video views
-21k video views
VIDEO #3: FINAL FLIGHT
This video received six times as many video views compared to the average Facebook video between September and November.
-1.1MM video views
-243k video views
-39k video views
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