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Special Project

Special Project
From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

United Airlines Olympics Discovery Ads

Entered in YouTube


United has been a partner of the United States Olympic Committee for 35 years, supporting Team USA on a year-round, day-to-day basis by being the airline of choice for Olympians and hopefuls. With the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio approaching, we wanted to use this sponsorship to create great content that resonated with both our primary target audience of High Yield and Emerging Travelers and a wider audience of consumers, employees and Olympic fans. We wanted to establish the message that United was not only the support team for Team USA, but also the support team for our everyday customers. Through our "flyer-friendly" message, United helps their customers to pursue their personal passions and achieve their goals, similar to those of an Olympian.

Overall we hoped this widely appealing message would stick with consumers and ultimately increase brand favorability and preference for United.

Strategy and Execution

During the Olympics, fans' awareness of athletes and interest in learning more about the event rises tremendously. Users explore the Internet looking to learn more about their new heroes, and in order to capture the attention of users we created a series of Discovery Ads centered around our six partner athletes. These Discovery Ads highlighted parts of the United Team USA safety video that focused on each individual athlete, while also including new interviews with the athletes that had been previously unseen. This content organically attracted viewers by providing them with a unique perspective on their favorite athletes, all while aligning with United's objectives of increasing association with Team USA and brand favorability.


  • Discovery ads drove 98% of United's YouTube channel's total earned views (73.1K), showcasing that viewers who sought out Olympic content found that our videos were engaging and would continue to watch additional videos on the YouTube channel.
  • 4 of 6 videos exceeded the benchmark video view rate of 1%
  • Simone Biles: Generated over 300,000 views, had a 1.53% video view rate, and 43% of users watched the entire video to 100%
  • Missy Franklin: Drove ~90,000 views and had a 1.38% video view rate
  • Kerri Walsh Jennings: Drove ~50,000 views and 1.26% video view rate
  • Ashton Eaton: ~75,000 views and 1.15% video view rate
  • Carli Lloyd: ~49,000 views and .95% video view rate
  • Dartanyon Crockett: ~50,000 views and .65% video view rate
  • Media

    Entrant Company / Organization Name

    United Airlines


    Entry Credits