By Lewis Lazare – Reporter, Chicago Business Journal
United Airlines is spotlighting its promotional ties to “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” due in theaters nationwide on Dec. 20.
The Chicago-based airline will introduce a new 30-second television commercial from ad agency of record McGarryBowen New York City that will continue to run well into January. That’s how important United perceives this Stars Wars connection to be.
The Star Wars commercial is the first major national television advertising United has done in more than two years.
Noted United Vice President of Marketing Mark Krolick: “United and Star Wars share a common mission of connecting people and uniting the world, and this new commercial exemplifies that commitment. 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.”
United even went so far as to tweak its famous “Fly the Friendly Skies” tagline to become “Fly the Friendly Galaxy” in the new television spot.
Directed by Victoria Mahoney, second unit director of “The Rise of Skywalker," United’s new commercial also is a huge break for Channon Dade, a Los Angeles-based United ramp agent who in her spare time has been working in the film industry that consumes so much of Los Angeles.
The TV spot opens with Dade directing a United aircraft on the tarmac. The plane magically turns into a galactic spaceship that Dade faces down with her Star Wars lightsabers in hand and a facial expression that conjures the fierce intensity of a true warrior.
Then, just as magically, after some acrobatic derring-do by Dade, the spaceship turns back into a United plane as Dade magisterially walks in front of the aircraft.
United’s new Star Wars-themed commercial was filmed at Ontario International Airport in Ontario, California, and at Cuddeback Lake in the Mojave Desert.
The new television spot comes on the heels of the unveiling earlier this month of a Star Wars-themed Boeing 737-800 in the United fleet. The specially outfitted aircraft has been flying across the country with a distinctive Star Wars livery and further Star Wars-themed touches inside the plane.
United Airlines is a unit of United Airlines Holdings (NASDAQ: UAL). The Star Wars franchise is owned by The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS).
*United Airlines ramp agent Channon Dade stars in a new commercial tied to the premiere next month of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." UNITED AIRLINES