Emirates Airline is paying actress Jennifer Aniston millions of dollars as the centerpiece of its new marketing campaign, but with the first TV commercial now out, some are wondering if the company is using her as part of a transparent attack its ongoing battle against its U.S. competition.
In the new ad, Aniston dreams she’s on a flight that — to her great dismay — has no showers and no bar. Then she wakes up on an Emirates flight and starts telling the bartender about the horrors of her low-service nightmare.
The thing is, all of the flight attendants that she encounters in her bad dream are clearly Americans — implying that she is flying on a U.S. carrier that provides vastly inferior services and passenger amenities compared to the Emirates experience. (The galley scene is pretty hilarious…and spot on IMO.)
Fair enough, but the ad might also be seen in the context of the ongoing battle between the major U.S. global carriers (Delta, United and American) and their Big Three Middle Eastern competitors –Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways — all of which are expanding their U.S. route networks in a bid to capture a greater share of intercontinental traffic.
U.S. airlines have launched an intensive p.r. and lobbying campaign to convince the public, Congress and government regulators that the Mideast carriers are competing unfairly by benefiting from direct and indirect subsidies from their governments.
The U.S. carriers want the government to step in and restrict the access of the Mideast airlines to additional U.S. markets — something regulators have not yet done. But disinterested observers warn that such an action by the U.S. — which has always supported Open Skies relationships with other countries — could invite retaliation and ultimately stifle worldwide route development and hurt the global economy.
Do you think America’s Sweetheart suspected she was stepping into a global transportation maelstrom when she put on that robe and stepped in front of the cameras?
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: New hotel openings + Cathay Pacific’s new lounge + Joining PreCheck gets easier + Air India’s San Francisco plans + New perks from United, Virgin America