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How do you seamlessly blend two universal brands into one successful campaign?

The answer is one liveried plane, co-branded safety video, custom amenity kits, MileagePlus auctions for one-of-a-kind curated Star Wars experiences, television media buys and a blend of social, digital and OOH concepts for a versatile campaign celebrating the ninth and final Star Wars film, Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker in December 2019.

United Airlines and Disney, along with a collaboration of dentsu agencies worked as one unified force to build and release a successful campaign into the far reaches of space...


The primary campaign objective was to drive affinity, awareness and positive brand sentiment for United Airlines by leveraging the Star Wars franchise and capturing the excitement leading up to the film’s premier.

United Airlines chose dentsu as a partner for this marketing campaign based on a long and productive relationship between the two brands. To generate awareness and mass reach, United went big – this included using commercials aired within the highest rated TV environment, live NFL sports along with other national TV activity to supplement.

Social and digital media (via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Ogury, SpotX and NinthDecimal) supported the standout creative targeting those interested in Star Wars. However, a custom partnership with a flight tracking website, FlightAware, was the most unique of the media buys. The FlightAware program allowed flight enthusiasts the opportunity to track United’s Star Wars painted plane in real time as it traveled around the globe.

dentsu integrated teams were able to maximize on the franchise and film potential to create the most exciting and inspiring multi-channel campaign in United Airlines history, including prospect testing for display media, digital and video media buys, OOH, FlightAware media buys and social media campaigns across including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


The campaign ventured far, far beyond the traditional marketing path. By branching out into customized amenity kits, in-flight safety video, real-time flight tracking and a completely customized airplane livery, dentsu integrated teams demonstrated the commitment United Airlines has to its brand, employees and customers.

The TV ad featured real-life Wing Walker Channon Dade and was directed by Victoria Mahoney, the second unit director of the premiering film. Subsequently, United Airlines: Star Wars Wing Walker Commercial was awarded the 22nd Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence in Short Form Design.

Overall, the campaign was a huge, multi-brand, multi-platform and multi- audience success for dentsu, United Airlines and the Star Wars franchise. The paid media across all channels generated great reach for the partnership, while the custom digital partnership on FlightAware broke all site records that year.