United Airlines has undergone a leadership shake-up and its newest hire is a real grouch.
The U.S.-based carrier has named Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch as its first “Chief Trash Officer” as he and the airline celebrate his love of rubbish.
The move comes amid an education campaign, launched by United, that’s designed to promote the expected benefit of using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) more broadly.
The promo, which features Oscar in more than 30 pieces of original video, digital, social and out-of-home content, follows the iconic character's journey from job listing to c-suite office starring alongside real United employees.
SAF is an alternative to conventional jet fuel that, on a lifecycle basis, reduces greenhouse gas emissions associated with air travel compared to conventional jet fuel alone.
SAF is being made from used cooking oil and agricultural waste, and, in the future, could be made from other feedstocks including household trash or forest waste.
To date, United has invested in the future production of over three billion gallons of SAF – the most of any airline in the world.
Consumers can take action too – in a first among U.S. airlines, United now shows an estimate of each flight's carbon footprint on a per economy seat passenger basis on its app and website, and travellers have the option to contribute to supplement United's investment in the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, which supports start-ups focused on decarbonizing air travel by accelerating research, production and technologies.
"United has invested in more sustainable aviation fuel production than any airline in the world, by far," said United Chief Communications Officer Josh Earnest. "Every airline burns jet fuel to run their business, but no airline will solve climate change on its own. So United has enlisted Oscar to help us educate the traveling public of all ages about SAF and rally them to the cause of fighting climate change. From banana peels to fryer grease, Oscar is uniquely qualified to help us explain why trash could be the treasure that fuels the jets of the future."
People can now follow Oscar's journey as he stars in videos alongside real United employees.
The integrated campaign includes interactive social-first elements, colourful spreads in Hemisphere magazine and a unique film series, all of which were created to simplify a complicated topic in an approachable and entertaining way.
As a part of the collaboration, United is supporting Sesame Workshop through a donation to the non-profit educational organization's Welcome Sesame initiative.
Sesame Workshop will also be included in United Airlines' Miles on a Mission, where travellers will be able to donate miles to help support its global mission to help children grow smarter stronger and kinder.
United will continue to bring this relationship to life for customers and for the communities it serve with more to come in the months ahead.
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