McGarryBowen adds humor to United flights


The Bavarian version of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” sounds especially compelling

McGarryBowen livened-up the flying experience for United Airlines’ customers by adding humor and excitement to the safety video that everyone is pretty much forced to watch before the plane takes off.

The four-minute-long Safety is Global establishes an entertaining mood in seconds. A slow zoom on Rio’s skyline quick-cuts to a Carnival parade jumping along to a Latin version of “Rhapsody In Blue.”

When a uniformed spokesperson emerges through a row of boa-festooned dancers and greets the passengers, the fun begins.

The actual flight guidelines are presented in a dynamic and light-hearted style that runs throughout the video. The standard seatbelt and emergency exit instructions are enhanced with props and an almost self-deprecating nod to slapstick.

Locations change frequently along the way. From the glow of the aurora borealis on the Alaskan tundra to a paper-lantern gathering on the shores of a Chinese pond, the accompanying music rolls with the terrain.

Gershwin sounds especially compelling when interpreted with the oomph of an uptempo Bavarian waltz.

“Safety is Global” was created by McGarryBowen’s New York office, and is scheduled to run on-board all United flights, as well as online.


Advertising Agency: mcgarrybowen
   Managing Director, ECD: Haydn Morris
   Group Creative Director, Copy: Erik Izo
   Sr. Art Director: Felicia Carr
   Sr. Copywriter: Frances Beuche
   Director of Broadcast Production: Dante Piacenza
   Senior Producer: Katie West
   Managing Director, Global Music Production: Jerry Krenach
   Senior Music Producer: Jean Scofield
   Account Managing Director: Joey Ziarko
   Account Superviser: Kayla Friedman
   Executive Director, Strategy: Diane Epstein

Production Company: Knucklehead
   Director: Ben Gregor
   Producer: Tim Katz
   Head of Production: Christa Thompson

Editorial House: Cut + Run NY
   Editor: Jon Grover
   Senior Producer: Ellese Jobin

Music House : Yessian
   Executive Producer: Brian Yessian

Visual Effects: Framestore
   Producer: Nicholas Dziekonski

VFX Supervisor: Raul Ortego

Color Correct: Company 3

  • Mike Apo

    UAL certainly spent a lot of money on this somewhat complicated, glitzy commercial/ safety message. The problem: it’s TOO glitzy. This is supposed to be a message about SAFETY. It needs to be simple and to the point both audibly and visually. The previous UAL safety message was better because while it was entertaining, each segment had a better focus on the safety without so much extra picture information. UAL needs to kep it simple. But, Oscar got a cameo this time, so he’s happy, I’m sure. And if UAL spent this kind of effort on customer service, it would be a much better airlines.