United Airlines Calls Out Southwest
In April of 2021, United Airlines started to roll out some eye-catching ads in the Denver metro area (The Denver Post). These not-so-subtle advertisements are very unique as they call out their top competing airline in the Denver market by name: Southwest.
The example ad below features white text over a clear(ish) blue sky, with the iconic DIA tents and the rear wing of a United Airlines plane at the bottom of the image. The text reads, "United: Nonstop to Hawaii's beaches. Southwest: Some stops to Hawaii's beaches."
Near the imagery at the bottom of the ad, you'll see text that reads, "Accept nothing less than Mile High Standards."
There are other ads in this campaign that follow the same structure. One ad highlights how United Airlines offers "Cozumel nonstop," while Southwest will get you to "Cozumel eventually."
A few of their ads comment on United's track record, saying they're "five years ahead of the competition," while others point out how United has a big pilot training facility in Denver.
The ad campaign will run through the summer, with digital ads placed on social media and physical ads in downtown Denver and DIA, as well as on RTD services. The campaign will even run on Spotify too, where United will make a custom playlist.
Why These Ads Work Well
Just like anyone else, we hate going to the airport. But we can't deny the effectiveness of these ads from United Airlines.
When they were developing these ads, it's clear they had two goals in mind:
- To position themselves as the superior airline
- And to show Denverites they have "roots" in this city
Denver is an incredibly important market for both United and Southwest, as both airlines are respectively No. 1 and No. 2 at DIA. Both airlines have recently signed new deals for more gates (Denver Post), which means they're both still growing in Denver.
If United Airlines wanted to retain its top position at DIA, the company needed to differentiate itself from Southwest. So, what do airline travelers value the most? It's simple: as few stops as possible to their destination getaway.
By boasting about their "nonstop" flights to distant locations like Hawaii and Cozumel, they've effectively created a clear separation between United and Southwest.
And it's worth noting that Denverites have a great deal of hometown pride. We all love the Mile High City and new residents will always hear the same question for years: "Are you a Denver native?" By showing United has "roots" in Denver, they've created a clear local association for their brand, which may influence many Denverites to choose United over other airlines.
The timing for their ad campaign couldn't be better either. As a top media buyer in Denver, we understand how important timing is for effective advertising. Many COVID-related travel restrictions have been lifted across Colorado and, as of writing this, over 51% of the Colorado population has been fully vaccinated (USA Facts).
People are more than ready for leisure travel once again, and United Airlines has a jumpstart on the competition now.
Lessons To Pull From This United Airlines Ad Campaign
Your small business may not have the same resources as United Airlines. However, there are a few lessons that we can pull from this ad campaign.
- Don't be afraid to call out your competitors - It can be a great way to differentiate your brand! That doesn't necessarily mean you need to reference their name.
- Your timing is paramount - This ad campaign would've flopped if it was released 6 months ago. Remember to think critically about the timing of your ad campaigns.
- Foster a local connection with your audience - Denverites love the Mile High City and will often choose to shop with a local business over others. United certainly isn't local to Denver, but your business is.
Get Better Marketing Results With A Top Media Buyer In Denver
Do you feel like your advertisements could use a boost? If so, reach out to our marketers at Real FiG Advertising + Marketing.
At FiG, we have the in-house talent and third-party connections to create stunning visual advertisements that will perfectly communicate your value to your target audience. We specialize in strategic media buying in Denver and we get your ads placed in front of the right audience at the right time. With FiG at your back, you can rest easy knowing that our marketing will lead to results for you.
Contact Real FiG Advertising + Marketing today to learn how we can boost your advertising ROI as a leading media buyer in Denver.