United in Evaluation

Airline Execs Study Fallon’s Performance
CHICAGO–United Airlines has asked “key stakeholders” who work with Fallon McElligott to fill out evaluation forms on the agency in an effort to forge a “more effective” relationship, according to an executive familiar with the process.
Although such an evaluation is new for the carrier, it should not be considered a precursor to an agency review, the source said. It was not known if the evaluation also applies to United’s international agency, Young & Rubicam.
Executives from the Elk Grove Village, Ill., company have maintained they’re pleased with Fallon’s current advertising strategy, which was launched in January following the unsuccessful “Rising” effort.
A United representative said she was not aware of the evaluation. Fallon executives also said they had no knowledge of the process. Chairman Pat Fallon said that the Minneapolis agency’s relationship with United is strong.
Fallon appeared to be in trouble on the account last October when United scrapped the 3-year-old “Rising” campaign, which the airline acknowledged was too intellectual and esoteric for consumers.
At that time, the airline asked its two agencies for a fresh effort. United executives throughout that process maintained that neither agency was in danger of losing its portion of the business.
Fallon produced the follow-up, lushly photographed image work that is centered around the theme “United to create a better journey.” The ads, which feature a more prominent return of the airline’s longstanding use of Rhapsody in Blue, take a much more emotional approach than had the agency’s previous work.
Subsequent ads have begun to focus on the airline’s “deliverable” services such as its Economy Plus seating.
United’s revenue passenger miles increased, from January through March of this year, 1.2 percent over the same period last year. Parent company UAL Corp. also is expected to exceed analysts’ first-quarter earnings estimates on increased passenger demand, the company said. K