CHICAGO—United Airlines has hired Edelman Public Relations Worldwide and its PR21 subsidiary to provide internal and external communications support for the launch of its new discount carrier, Ted, which debuts this week.
Edelman’s employee engagement practice, led by Christopher Hannegan, will provide internal communications counsel, while PR21 will provide marketing support. Bridget Brennan will lead the PR21 account team.
United cut back on its public relations spending earlier this year as the company’s financial difficulties worsened and it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It had previously worked with Fleishman-Hillard and Matha MacDonald, where Hannegan worked before joining Edelman in May. Former United public relations chief John Kiker joined Edelman as head of its New York corporate practice in August.
Ted, which draws its named from the last three letter of United, has been marketed primarily through a series of guerrilla tactics in Denver, where the service will debut. Recently, people conducted “spontaneous” Ted cheers at a Denver Nuggets game, and Ted posters appeared throughout the downtown area. The link between Ted and United became apparent when two Ted-related websites were traced back to the company.
Fallon Worldwide is leading the advertising effort for the new brand.