Rhapsody in Obscurity

If they gave Clios for pretentiousness, then United Airlines’ new animated ad campaign would be a shoo-in. I just saw their second of four one-minute TV spots, and this one makes almost as little sense as the first ad that’s been playing all over TV these past few weeks.
United Airlines
The new spot, which has lots of light bulbs in it, is by British animator Joanna Quinn who has also recently created more straightforward and enjoyable animated spots for Charmin toilet paper (with the bears) and Whiskas cat food. All four of the United Airlines ads are set to George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and are produced through Acme Filmworks. Like Quinn, the directors of the other spots – Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis (image at right), Michael Dudok De Wit and Aleksandr Petrov – have all been either nominated or won an Oscar for animated short. I’m all in favor of distinctive quality animation in TV commercials and the two United ads I’ve seen so far are pleasing to look at, but the storytelling is unnecessarily confusing, and I still haven’t figured out what message, if any, United is trying to communicate through these spots.