When the communications team at Southwest Airlines learned that Captain Bryan Knight had made a special request to his chief pilot, they quickly made the decision to document the entire event on video. The video has earned Southwest first place in the “Best Overall Video” category of PR Daily’s Video & Visual Awards.
Knight was only five years old when he saw his father for the last time. In 1967, his dad left Love Field in Dallas for Vietnam, where he was shot down and declared missing in action in Laos. In mid-2019, Knight’s family was contacted by the Department of Defense: His father’s remains had been found.
Once Knight secured permission to fly his father’s remains home for the final time, Southwest made the journey possible and the communications team embarked on production of the video (which has also won the top prize in the “PR Video” category.)
The video’s goals included capturing attention for the story, securing an exclusive story with the CBS affiliate in Dallas and using the video to pitch the story to journalists in key markets. Logistically, the team ensured they had access to each phase of the flight.
On the ground in Dallas, employees of Southwest and City of Dallas Airport waited to show their respects. Coincidentally, an international journalist was traveling through Dallas Love Field at the time of the arrival ceremony. His tweets about the ceremony were retweeted by Southwest, sparking international attention.
The Facebook video racked up more than 1 million views in just 48 hours; ultimately, nearly 5 million views were recorded, along with more on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Southwest’s intranet. CBS did pick up the story, along with NBC and the Washington Post.
Congrats to Stephen Keller, Erin Boren and Dan Landson.