New United Airlines’ creative channels YouTube ‘skip ad button’

united airlines skip ad button for queues

United Airlines has launched a playful 15-minute long video making use of YouTube’s ‘skip ad’ button and featuring an agonisingly slow airline help desk queue. 

But what makes this spot different is that United reminds its customers that they do not have to stand in such lines thanks to its unique Agent on Demand service, with offers seamless and quick access to an airline representative via phone or mobile app.

United Airlines 

United encourages YouTube viewers to go ahead and skip the ad, just like they would be able to skip a long airport line with Agent on Demand.

The film, developed with 72andSunny LA, features bespoke creative designed specifically for the media placement on YouTube. 

It opens with people slowly shuffling in line towards an agent at an airport desk (not that of United), with a voiceover encouraging people to press the ‘skip ad’ button to stop watching and ‘remove’ themselves from the line. 

In an humorous twist, if the viewer decides not to skip, they are treated to 15 minutes of people standing in line, capturing perfectly the feelings of tedium and frustration, reflecting what you would experience if you didn’t use the Agent on Demand service.

A message pops up on the screen asking: ‘Wish you had a skip ad button for airport lines? Thanks to United, now you do’. 

The Agent on Demand product is then superimposed on the screen, while a series of prompts flash across the screen at speed, detailing: “It’s a United agent, ready and waiting, 24/7 to help you. Change your flight, change your seat, whatever you need.” 

The film offers suggestions for what people could be doing instead of standing in line, and ends with the voiceover saying: ‘You really shouldn’t be seeing this.’

United’s Agent on Demand service launched just over a year ago and recently logged its one millionth call. 

The digital tool enables people to talk to a United agent, by using the airline’s app or from their phone. The film coincides with the Agent on Demand service launching in every United Airlines operated airport worldwide.

Maggie Schmerin, Head of Global Advertising and Social Media at United Airlines, said: “When we tell customers about Agent on Demand and the fact that they can speak to an agent from anywhere in the airport – a restaurant, a gate area, a United Club – they are so appreciative of this technology. 

“We were inspired by the innovation our Technology team has demonstrated with this service to find a creative way to talk with consumers about it, which led to this special tailoring of our the message to YouTube specifically. 

“We all know the feeling of wanting to hit the ‘skip ad’ button – just like we know how tedious standing in a line can feel.”

Lauren Smith, Executive Creative Director, at 72andSunny LA, said: “We hope people make it to the surprise at the end. Just kidding, there’s no surprise. Just the same long line for 15 minutes. Although there is some charming copy along the way. 

“But really, the true surprise is just being able to tie the really helpful benefit of the feature – skipping airport lines altogether – with some really innovative media ideas.”

The film is part of United’s’ ‘Good Leads The Way’ campaign, which features the airline’s initiatives in the air and on the ground.