American Airlines shows support for hub’s Cubs

The company has more ties to Chicago than many consumers might think—including a link to its Northside baseball team. Here’s how marketers became part of the red-hot Cubs conversation.

Sometimes all it takes is a creative concept—and a trending photo—to gain notoriety with consumers online.

Brand managers at American Airlines exemplified their digital know-how—and Chicago connections—by tweeting about their Cubs-inspired décor on a recent flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. The Chicago Cubs traveled to Los Angeles last Tuesday to face off against the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

Although American Airlines is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, its website states that its roots date back to Chicago in 1926.

American is also the official airline of the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Tribune reports. The carrier acquired that designation from United Airlines last February.

From the Tribune:

[It’s] strictly a marketing agreement and doesn’t require the team fly American. When the sponsorship deal was signed last year, Fernand Fernandez, vice president of global marketing, said American wanted to be “Chicago’s hometown airline.”

The deal guaranteed American would be the team’s only airline sponsor and involves signage at Wrigley Field. In 2018, a new American-branded premium ticket section is planned behind home plate.

To remind baseball fans of the airline’s connections to the Cubs, brand managers showcased their #FlyTheW spirit on Twitter.

Here’s the recent tweet that sparked a sea of support from Chicagoans and other Cubs fans:

American has since decorated the interiors of several airplanes making the trip from Chicago to L.A. Staffers also handed out pennants and towels in the Admirals Club lounge at one of the airline’s hubs—O’Hare International Airport:

Spokeswoman Leslie Scott told the Tribune that about 5,000 rally towels were given to passengers at O’Hare’s lounges, where bartenders also served up “Win-Tinis”—a blue martini garnished with a red cherry, reflecting the team colors.

O’Hare’s terminal 3 was also decorated with Cubs flags:

Thus far, American’s variations on “flying the W” have garnered significant online attention.

Scott told DNA Info:

We’re trying to fly the W wherever we can.

Reps couldn’t confirm whether flights to Cleveland will include the same décor—pending the outcome of the Cubs’ next two NLCS games, on Saturday and Sunday (if necessary). The Cleveland Indians won the American League pennant and will face the National League champs in the World Series.


Topics: PR

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