Southwest Air Uses Facebook To Leverage Puppy Bowl Partnership

Southwest Airlines is using Facebook and Instagram to promote its partnership with Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XIV.

The brand is running ads to potential viewers, targeting consumers ages 24-54 who are dog lovers.  

On game day, Southwest will bring the Puppy Bowl to people’s mobile screens, broadcasting live from its new social command center in Dallas. Former MLB player Rocky Turner, a nationally syndicated radio host and Dish Nation TV personality, joins veteran NFL running back Justin Forsett as new brand ambassadors for the airline. The duo will host the Facebook Live and provide game-day commentary. Fans can also get a behind-the-scenes look at the game through Southwest's Instagram Stories.

Following the Facebook Live broadcast, the airline will run recap ads using the broadcast footage, directing viewers to see highlights from Southwest’s Live coverage of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl.



Southwest Airlines customers have had access this month to the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl channel through the on-demand TV series via the Southwest entertainment portal. The channel is counting down to Puppy Bowl with a special pre-game episode, a five-minute "sneak peek" of Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl Presents: The Dog Bowl, which airs on Animal Planet at 8 p.m. Feb. 3. A library of previous Puppy Bowl games are being featured on all WiFi-enabled planes. In addition to archived Puppy Bowl content, Southwest will celebrate Puppy Bowl with custom content featuring the puppies who are traveling to Puppy Bowl XIV.

The sponsorship allows the airline to connect with current Southwest fans and reach new audiences of Puppy Bowl/Animal Planet fans and animal lovers, says Bethany Evans, Southwest Airlines senior manager, marketing. 

“This opportunity came to us from years of working with Discovery on Shark Week, Evans tells Marketing Daily. “We are leveraging this partnership with Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl in order to insert Southwest into the culturally relevant Big Game conversation.”

This year is the second year that Southwest has partnered with Animal Planet for Puppy Bowl, but this year’s partnership is much bigger than last year’s, she says. Additionally, the brand advertises throughout the NFL season and sponsors various sports teams across the country, including the Denver Nuggets, Texas Rangers and Houston Rockets.

Southwest has used Facebook Live to great success in the past to celebrate, inform and recruit, Evans says. 

“We’ve gone live from the tarmac, from inside hangars, and from our Network Operations Control which is the nucleus of our operation,” she says. “Facebook Live enables us to be more direct and genuine with customers and the media, and to celebrate the employees who do amazing things every day. Our viewership on Facebook Live has been much higher than other live platforms, and we’re looking forward to evolving with the product.”

There is a growing appetite for creating, posting and interacting with live videos on Facebook. Over the past year, daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts has grown by more than 4x. Live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos, according to Facebook.

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