United is resurrecting its iconic "Fly the friendly skies" tagline after a long hiatus, but this time it's seeking to connect the familiar phrase more closely with customer service.
McGarryBowen sought to contemporize the tagline, which was first introduced in the 1960s, for the new campaign. "We realized we couldn't just resurrect it," said Gordon Bowen, chairman-chief creative officer at Dentsu's McGarryBowen, which has handled the account since 2011. "We had to reinvent it. Today's air travelers require more, so we redefined the tagline through the lens of what customers nowadays are expecting."
Mr. Bowen said that includes a "flyer-friendly" airline that delivers on consumers' needs like global Wifi, convenience through features like multiple power-charging outlets on planes, more destinations than any other airline, more legroom and more non-stop flights.
The spots will launch during Sunday's NFL games, the PGA Tour championship, 60 Minutes and the Emmys. The first spot, "Orchestra," features the London Symphony Orchestra performing "Rhapsody in Blue," with a voiceover by Matt Damon. Additional spots include "Built Around You," which promotes what differentiates United from other airlines, "Taxi," which touts the airline's global reach, and "Satellite," which highlights United's in-flight WiFi. Additional campaign elements include digital and social media, radio, print and out-of-home.
The tagline was originally created by Leo Burnett in 1965 and was used until United ended its relationship with the agency in 1996. United and Continental Airlines merged in 2010. The newly formed company, United Continental Holdings, ditched the United Logo in favor of Continental's logo but kept the United name. The tagline since the merger had been "Let's fly together."