As the 2024 Superbowl draws near in the United States, major corporations worldwide are already envisaging ways to bring their brand to millions of American Football fans as well as millions who will watch the game on television screens worldwide on February 11, 2024.
Traditionally, US carriers have devised new marketing campaigns that launch in the week leading up to the Superbowl game itself. This normally, but not exclusively, takes the form of television commercials, as well as bespoke advertisements in print media and in recent years, social media campaigns.
For 2024, Fort-Worth-based American Airlines has already begun efforts to lure customers onto its services ahead of the big game. However, rather than pictures of planes, highlighting the benefits of its onboard service, or using catchy slogans, the carrier has come up with a slight left-field marketing campaign that has already drawn a great deal of media attention.
No sooner had The Kansas City Chiefs secured their place in the Superbowl by beating the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, January 28, 2024, American Airlines went into full marketing overdrive by using celebrity-inspired flights to lure Chiefs supporters to book with the carrier to get the big game in Las Vegas on February 11, 2024.
Already offering several routine flights between Kansas City and the so-called “Sin City”, the airline has laid on additional services to cater to the deluge of thousands of extra NFL fans wishing to attend the game.
However, the key difference with these extra services is the flight numbers they will carry. As all AeroTime readers will no doubt be aware, Kansas City Chiefs share a celebrity connection with none other than multi-million-selling international singer, Tailor Swift.
Swift is reported to be currently dating Chiefs’ tight end, Travis Kelce, and has become a regular spectator at Chief games during the 2023/24 season. This connection has generated a huge amount of attention, even from non-football fans who have been attending Chiefs games in the hope of spotting the famous songstress.
Taking full advantage of the public interest this relationship has created, American Airlines has added flight AA1989 between the two cities in honor of the celebrity romance. Not a seemingly arbitrary number, as 1989 also happens to be the title of one of Swift’s award-winning albums, which was re-recorded and re-released in 2023 as ‘1989-Taylor’s Version’.
Not content to stop there, the airline has also allocated special celebrity numbers to flights AA87 and AA15. While 87 is linked to the squad number of Swift’s partner Travis Kelce, 15 honors the Chiefs’ star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. To add to the collection, flight AA1521 honors both Mahomes and Chiefs’ safety player, Mike Edwards whose squad number is 15.
“The excitement surrounding this year’s sporting events has never been greater. You could say that we are in a football era, and we are thrilled to provide additional direct flights from Kansas City to Las Vegas. To our customers who are huge sports fans, look what you made us do,” read an American Airlines statement.
Cleverly, even these three sentences are full of references to Swift, who embarks on the Japan leg of her worldwide ‘Eras’ tour shortly, presumably returning for the Las Vegas NFL season-ending spectacular in early February 2024.
While the Superbowl is seen by many as the biggest annual sporting event on the planet, it also marks one of the biggest marketing opportunities for corporations, too. The Superbowl is the most-watched television broadcast of the year in the US by quite some margin.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that huge US brands like American Airlines would want a piece of the action. And while American Airlines isn’t the only airline to add extra flights for football fans heading to Las Vegas, the unique and innovative way it has used the connection to celebrities is as unique as it is inspired.