Air Canada Debuts Fun New Ad Starring Sandra Oh

Filed Under: Air Canada, Videos

Korean-Canadian actor Sandra Oh is best known for her television dramatic work south of the border, ranging from Killing Eve to Grey’s Anatomy. Her breakout role was in the 2004 movie Sideways, a movie with so much drunk driving in it that just thinking about it makes me anxious, but which I am given to understand other people enjoyed.

At this year’s Golden Globes, Oh managed to both host the show AND win her second Golden Globe, which is quite the accomplishment for one evening, particularly when you throw in that she was the first woman of Asian descent to do either.

In short, she’s a legend in American film and television. But if you have ever doubted Sandra Oh’s Canadian chops, look no further than Air Canada’s new ad.

The piece pokes a little fun at (central) Canadian stereotypes like poutine and Caesars curing all societal ills, bagged milk, and saying “sorry” about everything, but that’s just the comic relief to a central message about respect, friendliness, and hospitality that characterizes how Canadians like to view ourselves.

Oh’s cheerful, engaging persona, and her smooth transitions between English and French, give a lot of life to what might otherwise have been a saccharine piece.

Air Canada’s advertising is usually more stodgy than that of its main competitor, WestJet, an airline that has always incorporated jokes into its safety briefings and for several years has gone viral with April Fools’ Day stunts and splashy holiday giveaway surprises.

This latest ad, while leaning hard into Air Canada’s branding as synonymous with Canadian nationality, is a much more entertaining and light-hearted approach than the airline’s usual fare, and I hope it is more of a trend than a one-off.

What do you think? Does Sandra Oh capture #TravelLikeaCanadian for you?

  1. “Sideways” is absolutely hilarious. All you took away from it was that there was some drunk driving in it?!

  2. BTW she became an American citizen earlier this year, and she proudly announced it when she hosted SNL.

  3. Canadians are so friendly eh ? Going to Canada is like dying and going to hockey heaven. I always give loonies and toonies to the homeless in Vancouver.

  4. Ironically Canada won’t let a US citizen into their country if they have a DUI conviction.

    Do as I say and not as I do?

  5. Ironic considering so many Canadians don’t like Air Canada… because the staff are rude and the service is terrible.

    I flew on it once and it wasn’t bad. One of our flight attendants was overbearing.

    I will say poutine and Caesars can cure all ails.

    Canadian customs and immigration are horrible though.

  6. @Trey

    I really don’t know what you are getting on about. Sure, there are *some* Canadians that have had subpar Air Canada experiences, but it definitely isn’t most. As someone that takes nearly 40 flights with them annually, I can attest that they have some of the most consistently friendly, welcoming, and helpful service. With the exception of a handful of first class products, Air Canada takes the cake service-wise (up there with KLM and Air New Zealand). The number of times I have seen crew members go out of their way to put a smile on a kid’s face with a treat would surprise you.

    Finally, I don’t know where on earth you got the impression that CBSA is horrible? I fly internationally lots and every single time I return home I am greeted by a friendly agent. There is never a hassle, they often just see my passport and declaration card and wave me (and most others) right through.

  7. How can you miss a middle seat to an aisle seat unintentionally. If that Canadian guy is poaching seats, he should have moved to the window seat.

    Wait Canadians like to poach seats?
    The 0:56 guy moved seats in 1:17

  8. They do know the hashtag is the same as the channel that gives us “my 600 lbs life” and “hoarders”, right?

  9. @Trey: as a lifelong Canadian, I have to say, you are 4 for 4. You pretty much nailed it. I must disagree (politely, of course) with Michael.

    Canadians are stereotypically a nice lot, but talk to my friends and relatives and you’ll find Air Canada is one of the few companies that leaves them sputtering with rage. Yes, they have nice new planes, and like any airline, they have some ground and flight crew who are lovely. But they don’t have the decency to face the music when things go wrong, and w/r/t crew, the bad far outnumber the good. Credit where credit is due: I’ve never seen staff at US airlines run and hide when things go bad. Air Canada … more times than I can count.

    Whereas US customs predominantly see and conduct themselves as law enforcement — which has both its pluses and minuses — Canadian customs predominantly see and conduct themselves as tax collectors (and the traveling public as tax evaders), which just thoroughly sucks.

  10. I absolutely LOVE this video!!! I have read the other comments but really she does make me want to visit Canada more! I don’t know about flying Air Canada but sure I’ll give them a try.

  11. Canadians got their constant apologising and impeccable politeness from us Brits. That being said they don’t drink like we do and they are far more friendly

  12. Enough of this ‘Korean-Canadian’ nonsense. She was born in Ottawa, which makes her Canadian.
    As for Sideways, it was a great movie and to use the drunk driving as the descriptor of the movie does not do the movie justice.

  13. The advert is hilarious, at least to me. Sandra Oh, regardless of where she is from or what country she is a citizen of, is a talented and gifted actress. Her talent makes the ad. She is a credit to all of her nations, adopted or otherwise.

  14. @ Michael and DM:

    I’ve actually gotten the opposite impression, at least going through Montréal… even though I’m an American who speaks better French than most of your “bilingual” politicians (you know, the ones who have to have their appearances on RC Info with French subtitles)

    They pretty much treated my mom and I like we were illegal immigrants or drug traffickers… as AMERICANS. My mom’s in her late fifties and she bore the thick of it. If anything I should’ve been the one being looked over extra careful. An American in his twenties who speaks metropolitan French? That’s more suspicious to me.

    US Customs and Border Protection, while they show that they’re here for my safety and are generally kinder, I know if I ever come back with candy or chocolate from Europe they’ll confiscate it. So they can take it to the back and eat it.

  15. “…a movie with so much drunk driving in it that just thinking about it makes me anxious…”

    You DO know it was a movie, right? that no one was *actually* driving while under the influence??? And SERIOUSLY, Peter is right: a great movie and THAT is what you remember?!?!? JFS…

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