Craig McNamara blogs and podcasts about advertising and working in advertising
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
More killer whale than killer spot
This United Airlines spot from 1992 is an interesting idea that falls apart in execution.
The ad agency came up with a pretty memorable demonstration -- show the size of the cabin by having two massive Orcas swim through it -- and then proceeded to undercut the idea in the most basic ways.
First, they open with the plane on the runway and the whales viewed through a window, so right away, you know the demonstration is a fake -- and thus, made the believability suspect. (Apparently, even the whales are computer-controlled models, but that's not really evident.)
Then the copy goes on to make some punny allusions to the size of the cabin without ever just coming right out and saying it -- "Look how roomy our cabins are. A killer whale can comfortably swim through it."
What you're left with is a couple of friendly Orcas who swim around to the music of Gershwin. Maybe it's a tryout for the new Shamu show at SeaWorld.
Still, it's a visually arresting spot -- even if it does conjure up the uncomfortable thought of a jumbo jet fuselage at the bottom of the ocean.
Craig McNamara, writer, has over 25 years experience in creating advertising, including 14 years at several of Minneapolis' best-known ad agencies. His work has won awards in both local and national award shows. He's also the author of a book on Minneapolis/St. Paul history and culture. You can find out more about him and view his portfolio at craigmwriter.com.
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