The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

United Airlines “Team Behind the Team” Olympics Campaign

Entered in Multi-Platform Campaign


United has been a sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee for 35 years. But we're more than that. We're true partners, supporting Team USA by flying Olympians and Olympic hopefuls around the world to pursue their dreams. Day in, day out, year 'round. We are "the team behind the team" on the athletes' amazing journeys, and with the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio approaching, our goal was to let our audience know. We wanted to create content that would generate awareness of our sponsorship and resonate with our customers, employees and Olympic fans at large. By virtue of this, we established that United is not only the support team for Team USA, but also the team behind our everyday customers.

Overall, we felt that our enthusiastic support for Team USA would appeal to consumers and our employees, and ultimately increase brand favorability and preference for United.

Strategy and Execution

According to Global Web Index, 85% of Olympic viewers said they use additional devices as they watch the games on TV. To tap into these second-screen viewing habits, we created a social media and content-focused, multi-platform campaign around our partnership with Team USA and Rio 2016. We added supplemental value to the viewing experience by providing an exclusive point of view on the Olympics. We highlighted six high-profile U.S. Olympians as influencers: Simone Biles, Ashton Eaton, Missy Franklin, Carli Lloyd, Kerri Walsh Jennings and Dartanyon Crockett. It was a diverse group in terms of athletics, age, gender and race that enabled us to reach the widest possible audience. And to further enhance our reach, we spread a mix of organic, paid and influencer content across many channels.

Approach by Channel






United Hub

Paid Media Strategy

In-Flight Experience


Like Team USA, United's social campaign excelled during Rio 2016.

Overall Metrics


35.9MM reach; +7 Ad Recall; +15 Message Association; +5 Favorability; 64,402,593 total impressions; 16,654,041 video views


7.84MM reach; +5 Ad Recall; +5 Favorability; 5,473,515 total impressions; 24,002 video views

Instagram: 2.9% engagement rate, 2.4% engagement vs. YTD Channel average

YouTube: 49.4MM reach, 812,178 video views


Entrant Company / Organization Name

United Airlines


Entry Credits