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Rhapsody in Pepsi Blue?
August 11, 2008 11:53 PM   Subscribe

Yes, it's an advertisement, but this commercial for United Airlines is really extraordinary. (Link goes directly to a .mov file. If you don't want to open it directly, go here and click on "New Work", then "TV".)

I know many of you don't usually like ads in your Metafilter, but I think this one is really special. The agency responsible is a Minneapolis-based start-up called Barrie D'Rozario Murphy and this is apparently one of their first major campaigns. There are four more ads in the campaign under the "New Work" link, above.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese (99 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've been fascinated by this spot every time it's been shown during the Olympics so far. I still can't tell if it's CG, cell animation, miniatures, or a combination.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:00 AM on August 12, 2008


I suspect it's because the connection where I am sucks, but holy hell did that take forever to load. This is actually awesome, because i was in the kitchen getting a beer when all of a sudden I thought the cats had done something both absurd and spectacular. I then realized it was coming from the computer.

That ad is actually pretty awesome, I really like the style of it. I was actually upset it was so short, which is kind of a rarity for me when it comes to such things.
posted by Stunt at 12:03 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dammit! I just noticed your mention of four more ads.....and yet this damned connection will hear none of it. BAH. I suppose they'll have to wait for later in the week when I'm home again.
posted by Stunt at 12:05 AM on August 12, 2008


Their site just went 503.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:08 AM on August 12, 2008


A YouTube link for those of us who don't have the evil that is Quicktime installed but do have the marginally lesser evil that is Flash.
posted by HaloMan at 12:12 AM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yah. We done gone broked it. :(
posted by stumcg at 12:12 AM on August 12, 2008


I love Exocoetidae. It's really frustrating scouring the ocean and waiting for a glimpse of them though.
posted by tellurian at 12:16 AM on August 12, 2008


Oops. Looks like we slammed their servers. Thanks for the YouTube link, HaloMan.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 12:19 AM on August 12, 2008


@HaloMan: What's evil about Quicktime?

And on-topic, I just don't get what the fuss is all about with that orchestra ad. It's some animation. Big deal. It doesn't do it for me at all.
posted by Lleyam at 12:22 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cartoon Brew
posted by netbros at 12:24 AM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Didn't they have a similar one for a similarly high-profiled event awhile ago? Also to Rhapsody In Blue?
posted by disillusioned at 12:29 AM on August 12, 2008


Well, it sure was cute. Brief, but cute.

Re: using Rhapsody In Blue -- I'm still a little baffled about United using this music so often. It's an incredible piece of music, but I never have understood the desire to associate it with "flying is fun."

And I think the ad agency might owe a little "ta" or some cash to the Little Mermaid for re-purposing their work. Jes sayin. Heh.
posted by davidmsc at 12:31 AM on August 12, 2008


@Lleyam: I just find the Quicktime software itself ugly and unnecessary, likes to associate itself with every format in history on install unnecessarily in Windows, not everyone has it installed and it isn't available on all platforms. You can use VLC, of course, but Flash is just generally more convenient, plus these sorts of in-browser media plugins are always pretty nasty to use. Call it a pet hate.

A bold assumption perhaps, but I wonder if this is making a bigger splash in the US because there are less "creative" adverts on US TV and more of the teeth-gnashingly annoying kind so when one like this appears it's a refreshing change.
posted by HaloMan at 12:36 AM on August 12, 2008


In this commercial, they combined hand-drawn textures and photographs into a brilliant and ornate CG package

Aha! Thanks netbros.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:37 AM on August 12, 2008


I saw that commercial on the teevee and I spent the whole minute blinking and trying to figure out what the hell I was looking at. I thought it seemed sort of mis-scored, as if it had been created for another piece of music, disconnected from the the narrative of the melody. It was neat, and I look forward to seeing it again. It sort of reminded me of Les Triplettes de Belleville becuase of the muted palette.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:40 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice work but the use of it to advertise United Airlines seems grafted on.
posted by jfrancis at 12:49 AM on August 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


Humans are wrecking the planet because we don't understand or respect nature for what it is.
Disneyfying animals to sell us a bigger carbon footprint doesn't help. Rhapsody in Pepsi Blue.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:52 AM on August 12, 2008 [10 favorites]


Heh. Now I read the title.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:54 AM on August 12, 2008


Pepsi flew.
posted by flod at 1:03 AM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought it seemed sort of mis-scored, as if it had been created for another piece of music, disconnected from the the narrative of the melody.

It was created for another piece of music..
posted by Chuckles at 1:10 AM on August 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is what I imagine what would happen if Bosch was a cartoonist somewhere in South Africa rather than, you know, a 16th century Dutch master.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:13 AM on August 12, 2008


Following on from netbros' link, I found The Tale of How--a video from the Black Heart Gang in the same style as the United Ad. The link also includes a short 'making of' video.
posted by sexymofo at 1:15 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of games like Samarost, haluz and haluz2
posted by RobHoi at 1:21 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


disconnected from the the narrative of the melody.

I can't believe you have ever seriously thought about this problem.

Cf programme music, repurposing, interpretation, synchronisation, visual vs auditory, ad nauseam.
posted by Wolof at 1:26 AM on August 12, 2008


Very pretty, but to me it's ineffective marketing. There's so much "oooh aaaahh pretty" that it's hard to remember that the ad is for an airline.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:41 AM on August 12, 2008


It's 'cos like the sky is like, all blue an' shit, an' when you're flying it's like your flying in actual blue an' shit, you know? And flying is like a fuckin' rhapsody, you know? So if you were a rapper and you were flying a plane this would totally fit the narrative. Fuck man, music is, like, fucking awesome.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:19 AM on August 12, 2008


Pretty, but I do wish companies would stop heavily implying that using their products and services will give me a rush akin to an acid trip (see the second ad for this in full effect).

Hopefully some of the designers and animators that created this will go on and do their own, non-advertising work.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:28 AM on August 12, 2008


Here's the guys who did the animation and w00t! they're from Cape Town.
posted by PenDevil at 2:41 AM on August 12, 2008


wow. What awesome visuals, exquisite detail. That is beautiful. I really wanted it to go on. Can't wait until they make movies.

A little back story about the animators:

South African design/art collective The Blackheart Gang is back, this time for United Airlines. Backed by the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra, TBG’s Hieronymous Bosch-like paintings in motion are brimming with lush, organic details that make “Sea Orchestra” a joy to watch again and again.

If you’re not familiar with The Blackheart Gang, make sure to watch their amazing debut, The Tale of How. You might also want to read our mini-interview to get a better understanding of how this quirky collective works.

An mp3 of each of the contributors in The Blackheart Gang with a few details of how they create the work.
posted by nickyskye at 3:10 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


scores a no fly for me...but I find most ads simply tacky no matter how "cleve."
posted by Postroad at 3:37 AM on August 12, 2008


start-up called Barrie D'Rozario Murphy and this is apparently one of their first major campaigns

actually... they are ex-fallon minneapolis creatives who worked on united for years. they were responsible for pretty much all the gershwin work you've seen recently. they founded their own shop and took united with them.
posted by krautland at 3:42 AM on August 12, 2008


I don't, generally like to fly united, but I've always thought their appropriation of Rhapsody was a good move on their part. A lot of people, I'd imagine, have no idea what the name of the song is, or that it's rightly famous, but instead imagine it's the UA music, and when they hear it, they think of UA.

Again, as someone who doesn't like United all that much, I've always thought they had great ads, usually with a dollop of wonder, which makes them a touch less evil than the other airlines in my book.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:02 AM on August 12, 2008


gah. ignore bad typing, please.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:05 AM on August 12, 2008


I agree with AV. The sea creature theme didn't fit the music. Having not watched much of the Olympics, I had not seen the ad before, but as soon as I heard the Gershwin music I knew whose ad it would probably turn out to be.
posted by emelenjr at 4:15 AM on August 12, 2008


I don't get the story here. In the first shot, we see the plane approaching. The orchestra is on the back of a giant sea turtle (see shadow in water in last shot) and rises up quickly. They tune their instruments and just as the plane flies over play the United theme. The woman in the plane is oblivious.

Message: Nature is going to extreme measures to get our attention and we just aren't responding. Fly United.

Wha?
posted by DU at 4:31 AM on August 12, 2008


What's amazing is that with the ads United is trying to say they are still a good airline when really they are one of the shittiest airlines and deserve to go bankrupt and go the way of Pan Am.
posted by parmanparman at 4:32 AM on August 12, 2008


The newt play the flute
The carp play the harp
The plaice play the bass
And they soundin' sharp
The bass play the brass
The chub play the tub
The fluke is the duke of soul
(Yeah)
The ray he can play
The lings on the strings
The trout rockin' out
The blackfish she sings
The smelt and the sprat
They know where it's at
An' oh that blowfish blow

Under the sea
Under the sea ...
posted by bwg at 4:56 AM on August 12, 2008


Its a bit like the Frog Chorus, but without Rupert the Bear
posted by dng at 5:06 AM on August 12, 2008


Thanks to the loading times, mine paused right as the fish were coming out of the mouths of the fish that were coming out of the mouths of the fish that were coming out of the mouths of the frogs, which was unsettling.

also quicktime ftw. Flash: slow, makes my fans go nuts, kills my batteries and more than two or three running at once? hah
posted by bonaldi at 5:28 AM on August 12, 2008


DU: Generally I appreciate your contrary skepticism, but in this case it's pretty clear by the reflection of the woman in the plane window at the end that she is looking down, amazed, at the island of fantastical creatures they have just passed over. (I think the intended message is more like "There are weird & wonderful things happening out in the world that you will only see if you fly United.") When we've seen this ad on the tv my SO has been creeped out by the matryoshka-like "tongues" of nested fish that spring out of the mouths of the big fish during the big horn sforzandi.
posted by aught at 5:30 AM on August 12, 2008


All the nay sayers aside, this is a good ad... and clever, engaging animation/cgi.

thanks for the link, since I'm not watching the Olympics, I would have missed it...
posted by HuronBob at 5:35 AM on August 12, 2008


I believe this is a politically liberal allegory that the fly-over states are nothing but a bunch of weirdos. And piano playing squids.
posted by sexymofo at 5:37 AM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Re: using Rhapsody In Blue -- I'm still a little baffled about United using this music so often. It's an incredible piece of music, but I never have understood the desire to associate it with "flying is fun."

I used to fly out of O'Hare in Chicago quite a bit, and seemed that theme would be coming out of every speaker in the damned terminal. Especially memorable was the concourse C tunnel, with its trippy lights accompanying the music.

The wikipedia entry says: United's theme song is George Gershwin's 1924 "Rhapsody in Blue", which it licensed from Gershwin's estate for $500,000 in 1976.[62] "Rhapsody" would have entered the public domain in 2000, but the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended its copyright another 20 years.
posted by SteveInMaine at 5:38 AM on August 12, 2008


...but in this case it's pretty clear by the reflection of the woman in the plane window at the end that she is looking down...

I watched a third time to confirm this and by gum you are right. I stand corrected. The angles are a little wrong (since we are looking directly out the window at the turtle and she is to our left, she must be looking aft of the turtle), but given the cramped quarters I can understand that. Also, her hand on the window is the main clue what she's doing.
posted by DU at 5:43 AM on August 12, 2008


I've been flying a lot -- really a lot -- for the last 20 years. I have never traveled with an airline as shamelessly bad as United Airlines, ever. And this includes airlines in developing countires where at least they are conscious of their troubles and don't blow precious cash on stupid, expensive TV ads.
posted by matteo at 5:49 AM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Have you flown with Ryanair, matteo? Where you have to pay if you'd like to check in for the flight, and also if have to pay if you'd like to pay for your flight with a card (you have to pay for your flight with a card), where the airports are in buttfuck nowhere, and they sell you lottery tickets in the air, turn you away if you're black, refuse to price their tickets including taxes, and basically just ream you in exchange for an uncomfortable seat on a flying bus.

My United flight was bad, but it was in an entirely different league to those twats
posted by bonaldi at 5:56 AM on August 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Given the hype in this thread I was quite underwhelmed. Approve of a direct QT link rather than SLYT though...
posted by pompomtom at 6:05 AM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


This commercial spoils what happens right before the first episode of Lost.
posted by Drastic at 6:06 AM on August 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


Here is what United's Frequent Flyers think of these ads.
posted by Xurando at 6:16 AM on August 12, 2008


That is one talented crawfish!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:17 AM on August 12, 2008


sexymofo: "Following on from netbros' link, I found The Tale of How--a video from the Black Heart Gang in the same style as the United Ad. The link also includes a short 'making of' video."

Spectacular. Needs to be watched in the high-def version. Thanks for tracking this down. Now all we need are the lyrics.
posted by stbalbach at 6:27 AM on August 12, 2008


Awesome animation, I just ignored the United part. Anyway, the thread is worth it just for The Tale of How.As for QT vs. Flash, I hate QT with a fiery passion. 1 out of 3 PCs I've installed it on will not play back movies without glitches or a green screen, rendering it useless. Flash works everywhere I've installed it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:36 AM on August 12, 2008


Re: using Rhapsody In Blue -- I'm still a little baffled about United using this music so often.

UA has used Rhapsody in Blue as theme music for so long that I don't even need to see the signs to know I'm in a UA terminal.

Note: They do pay for this. I don't mind. It's about the one bit of branding they hang on to. (They keep changing the paint scheme of the aircraft, but the music stays the same.)
posted by eriko at 6:49 AM on August 12, 2008


I found it oddly disconcerting. I don't know if it's the colors, or the movements of the creatures, but I couldn't watch all of it. I felt a mild sense of panic.

Truly bizarre.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:01 AM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Interesting animation, but it doesn't particularly make me want to fly American. United? JetBlue? Pam Am? Braniff?
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:13 AM on August 12, 2008


It was ok for United Airlines to use Rhapsody in Blue back in the 1980s when there was still some glimmer of the golden age of jet flying and they worked the Asian routes, but now they're just another bloated major getting government bailouts. It's like a muddy pig getting a Beethoven theme song.
posted by crapmatic at 7:29 AM on August 12, 2008


The octopus was awesome. Also, fwiw, UA has been using this tune for a number of years. I believe that at this point, Rhapsody in Blue is pretty well entrenched in many brains as the United theme song; hence, this ad may have some success in changing UA's image from "evil fucks who lost my luggage" to "evil fucks with that cute commercial." Many people will know that this is United Airlines, is what I'm saying, and their image is in the toilet, so this kind of thing really can't hurt.

Anyway, beans aside, this was a really nice little piece of animation. Does anyone know who actually created the animation?
posted by Mister_A at 7:30 AM on August 12, 2008


I don't get all the excitement for this — it seemed to me like a forgettable ad for a miserably bad airline. I'll assume that I'm missing some "aw, cute!" gene that may put me at future risk of not having posters of puppies on my wall.
posted by Forktine at 7:36 AM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, and interesting reading on the agency site:

UA dismisses Fallon Worldwide.

UA hires "start-up".

"Start-up" principals used to run UA account at Fallon.

In other words, start-up my ass. UA staked them big time.
posted by Mister_A at 7:38 AM on August 12, 2008


In other words, start-up my ass. UA staked them big time.

WWDSD? (What Would Darren Stevens Do?)
posted by xod at 7:46 AM on August 12, 2008


Darrin Stephens...
posted by xod at 7:48 AM on August 12, 2008


Metafilter is this clumsy but intellectual behemoth. We focus on a something small and humble, and ten thousand interested eyes peer over and vaporize it instantly. We should give sites like this a heads up and let them know we're coming, so they can don their big boy servers to take the hits.*

*For some reason I'm reminded of Cloverfield, which I just saw. Metafilter is like that guy, with a swarm of those biting bugs in tow. They don't mean to kill, they're just HUNGRY.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:55 AM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Looks like someone was channelling Mr Gilliam.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:55 AM on August 12, 2008


Yeah, chime me in with not understanding how I'm supposed to take United from this commercial, unless I'm already familiar with the United use of Rhapsody. If I am, I suppose it might reinforce it, except for the fact that my kids/friends/SO's would be going Wow look at that crab!! And I would be distracted in trying to connect that yes wait, this is for an airline. Travelling across the ocean is not enough, 2 seconds of a plane shadow does not connect me to United at all -- maybe flying, but not United.

Good luck, agency. I think of other agencies (Crispin Porter + Bogusky -- VW "Safe Happens" link, Crispin Porter + Bogusky -- Burger King "Bacon Cheddar Ranch" link, Wieden + Kennedy -- Nike "The Magnet" link) that manage to capture "out there" imagery while still making me think about their product or product lifestyle.
posted by cavalier at 7:57 AM on August 12, 2008


I dunno...I don't like it--I find it creepy.
posted by paddbear at 7:58 AM on August 12, 2008



In the great scheme of commercials I find this to be a lot more tolerable than most.

As to the effectiveness....at least it has mefites talking about United. Isn't any publicity better than no publicity?
posted by notreally at 8:02 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


One of the reasons I've really enjoyed watching Mad Men is the romantic notion that advertising in 1960 was an avenue for really creative artwork, when the substance of the ad still mattered and when ad men like Don Draper spent their days trying to find the pulse of American life. A myth, I know.
Still, I can't help but think of that myth when I watch ads like this. If this was what all TV ads looked like, watching ads wouldn't be half bad.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:03 AM on August 12, 2008


I was just going to say what notreally said... the old axioms of successful advertising have been modified–UA is getting lots of exposure with this ad, which is as much a PR piece as anything else. It's a corporate image make-over for a company with a lousy public image. This piece was never intended to live solely as a broadcast piece; if that was the case, I'd agree that it's a bit understated on the sell. Remember, though, this is not about some NEW DISCOUNT FARE TO POPULAR DESTINATION, it's part of a big effort to improve the company's public image.
posted by Mister_A at 8:07 AM on August 12, 2008


...unless I'm already familiar with the United use of Rhapsody.

It is definitely true that there are people who've never seen more than 10 seconds of TV inside the US. They should be more inclusive.
posted by DU at 8:08 AM on August 12, 2008


^^SARCASM DETECTED^^
posted by Mister_A at 8:13 AM on August 12, 2008


They still make ads for television? Good thing this is so beautiful and online, otherwise I'd never have seen it.
posted by Nelson at 8:17 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]



What's amazing is that with the ads United is trying to say they are still a good airline when really they are one of the shittiest airlines and deserve to go bankrupt and go the way of Pan Am.


Advertising actually has a useful function at a lower level (ie: lets you know what theatre a movie's showing at, and what time etc). But once your company has hit mega-corporate status, it's basically about lying (ie: we crunched the numbers and concluded it was way cheaper to spend gazillions on an ad campaign to convince you that our product is actually worth consuming than to actually offer you a product that's worth consuming). So yeah, beautiful images serving a mostly nefarious purpose.
posted by philip-random at 8:19 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I liked it, and I like the various bits of information about new animated films suggesting this sort of stuff may be where computer-animated films are going.
posted by Gnatcho at 8:24 AM on August 12, 2008


I hate flying to begin with, but have to do it all the time. JetBlue ad British Airways (and Southwest for a while in the mid-nineties) are/were the only airlines I really don't mind flying on. They try to make everyone comfortable and keep everyone in a good mood. So good on them. Every other airline treats their passengers like lucky stowaways to be shoved off the plane at the next stop, and because of bad business models (and because of JetBlue not having to pay pensions yet) they're all dying, and cutting back on everything they can in the meantime.

United, however, is the only Airline I've ever flown on which seems to actively hate it's passengers and make them as miserable as possible. Total fucking assholes through and through.

Still, cute ad, with a gorgeous style. And I do love me some Rhapsody in Blue.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:26 AM on August 12, 2008


dirtynumbangelboy writes "Very pretty, but to me it's ineffective marketing. There's so much 'oooh aaaahh pretty' that it's hard to remember that the ad is for an airline."

Personally, I remember UA ads because of the animation and the music. I usually like the animators they pick to do their ads, so the music is like a cue to watch. And I remember the fact that they're UA because very few other companies produce advertising like this.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:32 AM on August 12, 2008


Flying in the US sucks ass so hard I have suppurating hickeys on my ass. No ad--however cunningly crafted--is going to change that.
posted by everichon at 8:35 AM on August 12, 2008


Yeah, I agree with WGP above. I think airlines should be required by law only to show adverts which explain exactly how flying this much is going to drown Tuvalu. Plus Tokyo, New York, Mumbai, Shanghai, Jakarta and Dhaka. We got used to health warnings on cigarette ads - carbon warnings on ads like this should be next. And anything which throws fish out of the mouths of other fish, and makes the whole assemblage come out of the mouth of a frog is not cute, not one bit.
posted by imperium at 8:53 AM on August 12, 2008


bonaldi writes "Have you flown with Ryanair, matteo?"

Wow. Their website is worse than GoDaddy, and it looks like they offer "financial services," too.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:04 AM on August 12, 2008


EasyJet > RyanAir

I only say that because I flew from Geneva to Newcastle for 16CHF. w00t!
posted by blue_beetle at 9:23 AM on August 12, 2008


Have you flown with Ryanair, matteo?

are you seriously comparing a company that charges 20 euro to one that charges 300 for the same service? seriously? here's some news: eating at McDonald's is not as nice as eating at a Three-star restaurant (the difference in pricing is about the same as Ryanair/United)

also, Ryanair, unlike United, never left me behind at the gate, boarding pass in hand, flying away with my luggage because they had overbooked the flight and assigned seats that weren't actually on the aircraft (true story)

and Ryanair airports are out in the sticks, but I advise you to deal with United personnel in, say, O'Hare -- good luck.

I also don't see what's so awesome about an ad with a lobster conducting an orchestra of fish -- the art is pretty mediocre, the idea is new if you have never watched cartoons, and I also don't think that showing underwater creatures in your ad is a good way to promote a business that should actually keep you in the air, and not make you crash down in the ocean.
posted by matteo at 9:24 AM on August 12, 2008


Well, I liked it.
posted by katillathehun at 9:26 AM on August 12, 2008


Whoa. Even the snobby and acidic commentary here can't tarnish my delight at the pure creative talent on display in the ad and that is a lot to overcome.
posted by bz at 9:30 AM on August 12, 2008


I also found it disturbing to watch. Whether it was the colours, panning or animation I can't quite work out why.
posted by asok at 9:35 AM on August 12, 2008


Yay, got to watch it again, now that the site's back up, and I can say I still think the animation is too finely textured, inadequately dramatic, and lacks emphasis to match the music's bombast, leaving the whole thing feeling out of sync, disorienting. I feel Rhapsody in Blue as more geometric, and full of deep colors. The commercial would probably sit better with me if all the critters were playing an orchestral version of the "Come fly the friendly skies" jingle.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:05 AM on August 12, 2008


Lleyam writes "@HaloMan: What's evil about Quicktime?"

It takes over a bunch of extensions, it's slow, it's constantly trying to update, it installs a system tray icon, the install takes for ever, the user interface blows and you can get all the functionality with MPC and the right codec pack.

PS: we don't use the @username convention here, just the username is sufficient.
posted by Mitheral at 10:26 AM on August 12, 2008


are you seriously comparing a company that charges 20 euro to one that charges 300 for the same service? seriously? here's some news: eating at McDonald's is not as nice as eating at a Three-star restaurant

I don't see the price mattering -- you said you'd never flown with an airline as shamelessly bad as United, and Ryanair are more shameless, and more bad, regardless of their fees. It's like if you'd said "I've never eaten food as bad as this" after your three-star meal, and I said "you've eaten at Joe's Shack O' Rats, right?". It might be fucking shit, but it's still ostensibly three-star, like.
posted by bonaldi at 10:30 AM on August 12, 2008


I get it! It represents the fantasy state you enter when you're slipping in and out of consciousness after being tazed for throwing a fit after being held captive on the runway for seven hours, right? Trippy, bro.
posted by nanojath at 11:31 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is simply beautiful work. If it doesn't win a Cleo, I'd be shocked. On another note, it certainly sounds to me like another voiceover done by Robert Redford, too.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:47 AM on August 12, 2008


Ah! I had forgotten about The Tale of How. Like AV, I thought the style and execution didn't really mesh with music and message, and left me kind of disoriented. I liked the look of things, but it didn't really work as a whole product. Now I realize that they just took their existing artwork and tried to mesh it with "United's Theme" by way of Disney. That makes a lot more sense.
posted by team lowkey at 12:10 PM on August 12, 2008


crapmatic: It's like a muddy pig getting a Beethoven theme song.

Ba-ba-ba-CONNNNNN...
Sausage-and-HAMMMMMM...
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:47 PM on August 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Watched it again, this time not on an iPhone. Yeah, it is a pretty cool animation so I take back my previous "meh". However, I still don't get the QT hating ;) I've never even thought about it before today -- it just works...
posted by Lleyam at 2:25 PM on August 12, 2008


QT works perfectly on some hardware, and is perpetually broken on specific video cards / embedded video. I've played with various codecs (including alpha releases) on Windows, Linux, and Macs, and QT on PC hardware is my least favorite. The worst part is that there are no alternatives to play back the same file, so if QT is hosed you can't access the media at all.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:00 PM on August 12, 2008


new work -> tv -> #5 is really pretty.
posted by metastability at 6:15 PM on August 12, 2008


Just goes to show you how our creativity is incredibly misdirected in our society.
posted by dawiz at 6:22 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I liked it, but I'm a sucker for Rhapsody in Blue. I remember the mid-90's commercials when United was still a real airline, but even now the music makes me want to fly off to Taipei or Cairo on a trip. It's pretty impressive in high definition. (Been watching a lot of Olympics coverage lately, and this was shown in the opening ceremony, I believe.) I yearn for the day when I'll be able to afford to fly business class or better to wherever I want.
posted by jeffkramer at 6:38 PM on August 12, 2008


This one is by far the best, for my money (which is none). I've been scouring the web for the Herbie Hancock / Lang Lang recording of Rhapsody in Blue that's supposed to have used for the score. It's very nice. Anyone have any idea where the full thing can be found?
posted by bicyclefish at 9:08 PM on August 12, 2008



I've been flying a lot -- really a lot -- for the last 20 years. I have never traveled with an airline as shamelessly bad as United Airlines, ever. And this includes airlines in developing countires where at least they are conscious of their troubles and don't blow precious cash on stupid, expensive TV ads.


I've worked up about 600,000+ miles with United in the past few years (seven or so). Trust me. They're FAR from the worst.
posted by Mephisto at 10:03 PM on August 12, 2008


Watching it with the sound off makes the airplane shadow look really, really ominous. I half expected the happy fishy island to burst into carpet-bomb flames.

So, personally, no, I didn't find it a very effective ad.
posted by ook at 11:02 PM on August 12, 2008


I've been flying a lot -- really a lot -- for the last 20 years. I have never traveled with an airline as shamelessly bad as United Airlines, ever. And this includes airlines in developing countires where at least they are conscious of their troubles and don't blow precious cash on stupid, expensive TV ads.

I'm with Mephisto on this. I've flown about 300K miles in the past 5 years and, no, if you have really flown "a lot" then surely you gained enough Star Alliance miles to at least get Economy Plus when you fly. I found they had one of the best mileage rewards programs and so decided to stick with them. Last time it looked like I might miss my connection, I got an SMS from them as we were landing that they had automatically booked me on the next flight after that. On short flights I almost always get upgraded to First. So ... my experiences have been mostly positive.

As a regular coach passenger I have had better experiences with Singapore Airlines to the East or Virgin Airlines to Europe, but I wouldn't call United shamelessly bad. I would reserve that for airlines like Air Europa.
posted by vacapinta at 3:50 AM on August 13, 2008


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