Universal sets American Airlines fest

Inflight offering celebrates studio anniversary

Universal Pictures will launch an inflight film fest on select American Airlines routes as part of the studio’s centennial celebration and a partnership with USC.

“Field of Dreams” and “Seabiscuit” will be featured beginning April 30 on American’s Flight 1 and Flight 22 that travel between New York’s John F. Kennedy Intl. Airport and Los Angeles Intl. Airport.

The studio recently approached USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to develop ideas for its 100th anniversary, with senior executives presenting Professor Matthew Le Veque’s Social, Digital and Mass Media Strategies graduate class with the centennial’s themes and objectives. The onboard film festival was developed by the 17 students in the class.

“The partnership with USC was a great way for us to create an initiative that was authentic and appealed to our fans,” said Rick Finkelstein, Universal Pictures vice chairman and chief operating officer. “We’re excited to share Universal’s special day with select American Airlines customers. This is a fun and interesting way for us to engage and bring fans together. We’re grateful to the students at USC and American Airlines for helping us highlight our 100 years in moviemaking.”

American is calling the result the airline’s “first-ever inflight film festival,” which will make the pics available for free on inflight entertainment systems, along with gift bags that will be distributed at the gates of participating flights prior to departure that include a coupon for a free 15-minute inflight Internet session, headphones and classic movie candy.

Up to 10 winners, chosen from qualifying tweets, will also receive a Universal Centennial Blu-ray prize pack through May 1.

USC’s Jerry Swerling, director of the school’s strategic communication and public relations center at the Annenberg School, said working on U’s campaign “is a perfect example of the real world opportunities we seek for our USC Annenberg students. We are thrilled that Universal Pictures is using one of our students’ ideas and are grateful for this opportunity.”

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