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Special Project

Special Project
From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

American Airlines & Stand Up To Cancer - Life's Journeys

Finalist in Hospitality & Travel, Call to Action

Entered in Public Health


This 2019 campaign consisted of three main goals: to increase campaign awareness, customer engagement, and Stand Up To Cancer donations. Every facet of this campaign was focused on those three key purposes, and it was clear from the beginning that if we wanted to make an impact, we’d have to generate awareness so that as many people as possible could participate in this unique donation initiative. Through engagement, we could have a greater impact on the lives of those touched by cancer and breakthrough traditional donation campaigns. Ultimately as a result of both awareness and engagement, donations would follow. We aligned ourselves back to these three objectives throughout each part of the decision-making and campaign development process.

To evolve the conventional donation campaign into an impactful 360 integrated campaign with both traditional advertising and experiential, we felt it was important to acknowledge those who generously donated in a meaningful and engaging way. We went in with the mantra that a bigger donation only comes from a bigger idea.

From this insight we developed the idea of honoring the names of loved ones by adding them onto an actual American Airlines plane. By allowing donors this opportunity, the donation campaign took on a much more meaningful and personal effect. With targeted advertisements, a popular influencer, and paid media, we aimed to cut through the noise by allowing anyone who donated to be a part of the campaign payoff for years to come as opposed to a single moment in time.

Strategy and Execution

In 2019, we launched with a nationwide TV spot featuring country music artist, Tim McGraw, where we asked family and friends who have been affected by cancer to donate on behalf of a loved one. Each submitted loved one’s name would then be added onto our Official Stand Up To Cancer plane - an unprecedented type of donor engagement. The unique microsite launched at the start of the campaign and was followed up by a second microsite once the plane was unveiled where donors could find the exact placement of their name on the plane.  

Two unique content pieces were also released at launch, including a heartfelt interview with an American Airlines flight attendant who lost her husband to cancer and a behind-the-scenes reveal of the SU2C plane.

Of the over 17,000 people who donated to cancer research, a lucky few were invited to be a part of the inaugural flight ceremony and unveiling, along with an all-expenses paid trip to Orlando, FL courtesy of Hyatt Regency and Universal Studios.

The party kicked off at an LAX gate with music, snacks, and photo ops before various leadership from American, Stand Up To Cancer and Hyatt addressed the crowd. The Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders and mascot even showed up to see the guests off on their journey after the official unveiling of the finished Stand Up To Cancer plane.

The real party happened on the plane itself, as we hosted (arguably) the greatest flight of all time. Not only did guests have their size shirt, neck pillows, blankets, APL amenity kits, and a replica model of the Stand Up To Cancer plane waiting at their seat, the flight had a full show including a live performance by rising country artist Noah Schnacky, a stand-up set by comedian Marina Franklin, and games with amazing prizes!

Guests arrived at a champagne reception, $250 gift cards, and a room full of swag they could use in Orlando including their size APL shoes, phone chargers, sunscreen, towels, sun glasses, PopSockets, water bottle, and neck cooler, all in a travel tote bag. The next morning guests were whisked away to Universal Orlando for free entry into their three parks and treated to front-of-the-line passes.

To wrap up the trip, the guests were invited to a closing dinner at STK Orlando, where they were greeted with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner. Once everyone was done eating, an impromptu story time allowed others to share their cancer journey with their new friends and family. By the end of the night, tears were shed and hugs were exchanged. An unexpected kinship spread across these strangers who all had one thing in come; cancer. A reminder, that we may be different but we all have similar battles.  To this day, many of those randomly selected donators still keep in touch through a social media page that they created. Which proves, not only were there memories created that weekend, but also deep bonds were formed that will last a lifetime.


During the July to August timeframe, American raised more than $830,000 in donations toward cancer research and garnered a total of over 220 million impressions. These donations came from over 17,000 donors who submitted more than 22,000 names for the plane design. This resulted in the most individual donors of any American/Stand Up campaign to date, beating the record by nearly double.

From Phase I of the campaign in July through the ongoing evergreen promotion until December, the campaign continued to raise donations, bringing the grand total to over $1 million with over 945 million impressions, marking a hugely successful campaign.

As a result of the inaugural flight, we provide the winners with a life changing experience.  Different journeys from across the nation came together in one place where they shared each other’s stories and built new lasting friendships. 

“There are no words to express how thankful & humbled we are to have been invited to this very special & life changing trip.”
-Ellen & Peter, Guest on Inaugural Flight. 

“We were so honored and blessed to be a part of something so special!”
- Wendy and Neil, Guest on Inaugural Flight.

Aound all in all, we set out to drive unprecedented donor engagement and succeeded through the 360 nature of the campaign, experiential component and over $1M raised for SU2C.


Video for American Airlines & Stand Up To Cancer - Life's Journeys

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Serendipity Works, American Airlines