mcgarrybowen, United go full force for ‘Star Wars’

2019 United Star Wars Wing Walker TV Spot Still 1 (1)

Brands are now coming out in full force (see what I did there?) for their cross-promotions with the film that could possibly outgross this year’s Avengers: Endgame. Yes, we’re talking Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and United is all in with their tie-“fighter”-in.

Last week, we reported on United’s new Star Wars branded Boeing 737 and now we see their latest effort to help close out the 9-film Skywalker saga.

Created by mcgarrybowen, New York, the new campaign is a broadcast, ooh and digital effort. The 30-second TVC, directed by Prettybird’s Victoria Mahoney, features one of the airline’s very own Los Angeles-based ramp employees – Channon Dade.

Apparently Dade is also known as a ‘Wing Walker’ and is the star of the commercial.

The spot opens on her doing her real job, then enters a dream sequence where she sees herself trading her batons for light sabers and mimicking a scene where character Rey somersaults over a speeding vehicle. Watch the “Reel Ad of the Week” below:

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“United and Star Wars share a common mission of connecting people and uniting the world, and this new commercial exemplifies that commitment,” says Mark Krolick, VP of Marketing, United Airlines.

He adds, “Every day, our employees around the world combat elements as they get thousands of customers to destinations throughout the Friendly Galaxy safely and on time. Our LA-based team member, Channon Dade, showcases that dedication in this new TV commercial, and we look forward to sharing this spot with customers around the country.”

Director Mahoney, who was the second unit director of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, has directed two episodes of I am the Night for TNT/Patty Jenkins, starring Chris Pine and the Pilot for the Red Line event series for CBS.

She is also adapting Octavia Butler’s Hugo award-winning sci-fi novel Dawn, which she will direct, and executive produce alongside Ava DuVernay and MACRO.

She started her television career directing an episode of Queen Sugar; and has gone on to direct episodes of Claws, You and Seven Seconds and recently wrapped an episode of Misha Green’s Lovecraft Country for Star Wars helmer JJ Abrams, Jordan Peele and HBO.

“There’s no other realm more magical than Star Wars. It has the ability to fully transport cast & crew. When I learned United Airlines upholds an amazing mandate to hire true life United Employees in their commercials, I jumped for joy and found myself endlessly inspired watching each homemade audition by women, who happen to be as rare in their job of Wing Walker as I am in my job, “Mahoney told Reel 360.

She added, “Ever grateful Disney and Lucasfilm put my name in the hat. It was great fun building the pitch with Kerstin Emhoff at Prettybird and I’ve waited YEARS to collaborate with DP/Autumn Arkapaw. This spot is a wonderfully playful nod to a specific portion of JJ’s vision in The Rise of Skywalker.”

The TVC was filmed at Ontario International Airport.

OOH and Digital Elements

Other supporting campaign elements include OOH across the country in prominent spots and airport terminals, featuring messaging with Star Wars characters and spacecraft. There will also be digital ads and social placements.

The Reel 360 Team can’t wait to see how this 40-something-year in the making saga finally ends and we like all things Star Wars, so of course this gets “Reel Ad of the Week.”


CLIENT: United
VP, Marketing: Mark Krolick
Director, Global Advertising: Daniel Cuellar
Sr. Manager, Domestic Advertising: Leslie Lowe
Principal, Domestic Advertising: Jenna Redline
Sr. Marketing Representative, Domestic Advertising: Austin Taylor

CLIENT: Disney Partnerships
VP, Marketing Partnerships: Ty Ervin
Manager, Global Partnerships: Elizabeth DeMartino

AGENCY: mcgarrybowen
Global Managing Director, ECD: Haydn Morris
Group Creative Director: David DiRienz
Associate Creative Director: Bryan Wilson
Executive Producer: Jeff Goodnow
Managing Director, Music: Jerry Krenach
Senior Music Producer: Stephen Stallings
Talent Business Manager: DJ Gaffey
Senior Business Manager: Maria Gagliardi
Group Managing Director: Eleanor Solomon
Account Director: Tori Howlett
Account Executive: Jane Wang
Assistant Account Executive: Kate Higgins

Director: Victoria (Vic)  Mahoney
VP/Executive Producer: Kerstin Emhoff
Executive Producer: Suzanne Hargrove
Head of Production: Rika Osenberg
Line Producer: Rita LeRoux

EDIT: Cut and Run
Editor: Jon Grover
Managing Director: Lauren Hertzberg
Head of Production: Marcia Wigley

POST: Industrial Light & Magic
VFX Supervisor: Pablo Helman
Production Supervisor: Karen Kelly

Track: “A New Hope and End Credits”
Writer: John Williams
Artist: John Williams Orchestra

Channon Dade (United Wing Walker)
Tara Macken (Stunt Double)


SOCIAL:  360i
Group Account Director: Nicole Rousseau
Associate Account Director: Maggie Lannon

SOURCE: mcgarrybowen

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