United Airlines “World Orchestra” plays a global tune

World Orchestra

World Orchestra

A new spot from
New York
“Rhapsody in Blue”
into a multicultural
melody of hope

United Airlines new commercial, World Orchestra, is a multicultural jam of touching elegance. Created by mcgarrybown New York, the 30-second spot brings together people and music from all corners of the globe.

There are no words spoken other than a slogan mentioned at the end, but the celebration of differences that runs throughout the narrative delivers an uplifting message of inclusion. Multiple arrangements of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue keep it all moving along the same tempo.

“One of the most recognizable assets of United Airlines is their signature use of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue,” says Haydn Morris, Executive Creative Director, mcgarrybowen New York. “In World Orchestra, we used this beautiful melody as a connecting thread to showcase the global reach of the airline’s network.”



Highlighting United’s launch of new global hubs, the film depicts musicians from one culture transported to another. A Chicago blues jazz trombonist plays in a Shanghai bamboo forest, for example, while a Japanese flutist plays against the majestic backdrop of the Grand Canyon. The spot ends on a German Alpinist playing on the Presidio of San Francisco — announcing to the world that San Francisco is now United’s newest global hub.

Besides entrusting mcgarrybowen with the responsibility of announcing the new global hubs, United also went along with modifying the music that has been a staple of its branding for decades.

According to Morris, the decision is a major factor in the commercial’s success.

“United Airlines showed great faith in having the tune interpreted by some of the world’s less obvious instruments,” he says, “and the end result is engaging and delivers a powerful message with charm.”

The integrated advertising campaign features two TV spots, :15 and :30, supported with a network broadcast buy. Additional campaign elements include in-market Radio, OOH, Digital, Social, and In-Flight.

Agency: mcgarrybowen New York
   Chief Creative Officer (U.S.): Ned Crowley
   Managing Director, Executive Creative Director: Haydn Morris
   Group Creative Director: David DiRienz
   Group Creative Director: Chris Pacetta
   Director of Broadcast Production: Dante Piacenza
   Executive Producer: Celia Everett
   Senior Producer: Katie West
   Managing Director, Global Music Production: Jerry Krenach
   Managing Director, Account: Megan O’Grady
   Group Managing Director: Ethel Uy
   Account Supervisor: Kayla Friedman
   Group Strategy Director: Marvin Miranda

Production Company: Prettybird
   Director: Max Malkin
   VP Executive Producer: Ali Brown
   Director of Production: Tracey Hauser
   Line Producer: Matt Wersinger

Editorial House : Cut + Run NY
   Editor: Gary Knight
   Senior Producer: Ellese Jobin

Music Production Company: Finger Music
   Partner/Creative Director: Dave Hodge
   Producer: Ewa Miller

Visual Effects: Framestore
   VFX Supervisor: Tony Robins
   Senior Producer: Clairellen Wallin

Send your campaign updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.