#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. It's a masterful feat of engineering. With a unique upper deck and wide-body design, it feels infinitely roomier than its peers. To honor the retirement of this 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, our objective was to leverage all social channels to tell the story of the 747—from its first commercial flight in 1970 to its heroic farewell in November 2017.
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 created a content-focused, multiplatform social media campaign. To maximize our reach, we spread a mix of organic, paid and influencer content across multiple channels.
We used the advantages of each platform to tell a comprehensive story of the #UA747Farewell from beginning to end. Promotion for the event began in July with an announcement on social media of a surprise 747 flight from Chicago to San Francisco (a route that the aircraft hadn't flown in years). The flight sold out the same day and promoted a large organic sharing of memories, thus #UA747Farewell was born. On Facebook, we offered a series of videos that featured interesting facts about the aircraft and its history—from its dimensions, to what food was served on board when it first took flight. These videos were also posted to Twitter, where followers were more likely to retweet and spread the word. On both channels, we leveraged paid media to target our most valuable audiences. On Twitter, we also sponsored a chat with @travelskills to celebrate the Queen's retirement. This content leading up to the event also included links to articles on the United Hub, as well as a microsite that gave more details about the upcoming event.
To capture the event, we primarily used social channels that followers were likely to use more frequently. On the day of the event, we posted an Instagram story, inviting followers to experience the event with us. Also on Instagram, we leveraged two travel and lifestyle influencers to capture the event on their stories and pages. This allowed us to reach followers who may not be familiar with United, but who could connect to the meaningful event through an authentic voice that they trusted. On Twitter, we posted photos and videos of the event as it happened and retweeted content from those who were also at the event. Our own social content on these channels sparked a huge amount of UGC with #UA747Farewell, from fans at the event and fans of the 747 in general.
To wrap up this successful and memorable event, we posted and promoted recap videos of varying lengths to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Spread across our channels, these videos captured the emotional resonance of the event from start to finish, and allowed followers who couldn't attend to experience it with us.
The #UA747Farewell social campaign saw record-breaking results across all channels.
Total campaign impressions: 26MM
Total video views: 4.9MM video views
Number of hashtag uses: 20,865
Net sentiment for entirety of campaign: 88%
(Average UA net sentiment for September to November: -24%)
Between September and November:
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