The Best (Unpaid) Emirates Ad Ever

Filed Under: Emirates, Media

As those of you who follow the industry probably know, there has been a big controversy between the US and Gulf carriers for the past couple of years, though it’s finally mostly resolved. The US carriers have been emphasizing how the Gulf carriers are subsidized, while the Gulf carriers have been emphasizing how the US carriers provide a horrible product.

Emirates had an ad campaign with Jennifer Aniston highlighting this, which they supposedly paid her $5 million for:

The ad is pretty funny, and drives home the point of how Emirates provides a better product than US carriers. However, at the end of the day it’s an ad, so you can only put so much weight on it.

Well, I think Emirates just got some of the best publicity ever, and it didn’t even cost them a dime. One of the most popular YouTubers is Casey Neistat (his videos collectively have over a billion views). Even if you’re not into YouTube, you may remember I wrote about him earlier in the year — he made a video about how American took away his comped Concierge Key status, which is their invitation only status level.

They gave it to him for his social influence. While they had every right to take it away, it probably wasn’t the smartest move, given the amount of negative publicity they got for it as a result. Just as he gave them a lot of good publicity when he got the status, he also extensively documented his “breakup” with the airline.

However, last week Casey flew Emirates business class for the first time from New York to Dubai, and he made a video about his experience. According to him, Emirates didn’t know he was aboard and they didn’t comp his ticket, so it’s really great to see his take on things.

In just a few days the video already has over two million videos on YouTube. While many of us get jaded about airline products, seeing his amazement at the product offered by Emirates is really fun to watch. I thought I’d be bored a few minutes into the video, but I enjoyed every minute. It’s very well produced, and the cabin crew participating in the video are all super fun as well.

Here’s the video:

What incredible publicity for Emirates, and they didn’t even have to pay a dime for it. Casey is pretty well traveled and has flown some great airlines, so there’s some substance to his glowing review. In fairness, he seemed to have an exceptionally good crew.

  1. He also got upgraded to First class on his return from DXB to JFK, wonder if that was after they realized who he was?

  2. EK-Flyer – EK refused to check his $2000 skateboard and SYD security took it. He was pissed and probably complained to EK

  3. Kudos to the male FA on the outbound who invited him to walk through and record video of the first class cabin. Casey was truly blown away.

    The FA should get a promotion for the realizing the value to Emirates in having Casey do the walk-through.

  4. Am I supposed to know who this is? My worst nightmare , sitting in first with someone wearing a cap backwards, like a little leaguer.

  5. My guess is after the first video was posted on his outbounds someone in Emirates saw it and checked their records to see if Neistat would be flying back with Emirates as well. When they saw that he was, and that the first class cabin had plenty of empty seats (as was apparent in the video,) they probably upgraded him to first class. Smart move for Emirates.

  6. “According to him, Emirates didn’t know he was aboard and they didn’t comp his ticket, so it’s really great to see his take on things.”

    Emirates very likely knew he was aboard as Marvin at check-in tells him he watched his video that morning (~1:40), hence the seemingly VIP treatment.

  7. @Jon
    Amen. I agree a 1000%. My initial reaction to the first minute of the video (I could not bear to watch any more) was that I don’t want to fly with or sit in an elegant bar with someone wearing torn jeans and a baseball cap. If that is your world I don’t want to be part of it.

  8. EK make their staff aware of how social media can be used and watch out for people potentially blogging, the internal communications at EK forward vlogs like that one out to staff.

    The check in guy recognised him and I assume from that he made people aware of his large subscriber base.

    Tactical upgrade on the way back as they knew he was bound to blog that therefore gaining an second free advert.

  9. I don’t understand why people are upset over what others wear; it in no way has any affect on you.

    It also says a lot more about you than the wearer of the clothes which you are offended by.

    At your lives so empty that you get upset at what others wear?

  10. Glad to see Emirates get some free publicity. EK is my favorite airline to fly, so I am happy when a great product is being shared like that.

    @Jon & @Neil – I would be glad to have a happy go lucky (no pun intended) guy like Casey with me on the plane, hat or no hat. Not sure about you two though.

  11. This is fantastic. Casey has such a wonderful enthusiasm, and I love his infectious excitement as he is truly amazed at his experience. The joy of international premium travel!

  12. For me it doesn’t matter if passengers in F are slobs or suits as long as they are courtous and pleasent to the FA and considerate with other passengers.
    – don’t treat staff like slaves
    – help or think in solutions

    What really tickes me off is the headline” I FLEW $12.000 First class”, hasn’t he heard of cheaper restricted first fares or does he even explain to his audience how to get a better price by repositioning etc… It comes to me as a bit boastfull brag as to get upgrades due to personality status, classy would be to turn it down, thank and honoroble mention EK and film the tour. He might expect now every time an upgrade or feel miffed if EK can’t upgrade him because First might be fully booked.

    Wonder what the policy would be, who to evict from First Class [flex/resticted/upgrade/award] to allow an influential person their seat.

  13. Wouldn’t have happened on United (putting aside the product) in that it does not generally allow photos/videos to be made on board. It cuts both ways.

  14. I like Casey, he actually enjoys life and is always positive. Unlike some of the people who have commented on here. I get if you like privacy and no noise on a plane from your other passengers, but he is doing nothing wrong and so much hate towards the man.

  15. OH C’mon with the clothing thing. I wore gym shorts to the #1 restaurant in the World and they didn’t question me at all.

  16. @james – Amen!

    Seriously, everybody, stop complaining. I had so much fun watching this video and now absolutely want to try Emirates – this video gave them some absolutely great publicity. Advertising it so boring, but this actually felt unique and real.

    what would bother me, if anything, is someone talking loudly to make the video while I slept, but I guess there’s the lounge for that…

  17. @ tutti fruits

    Thank you for revealing your anti-semitism. Too bad you are benefiting and learning so much from so many jewish inventors, bloggers, not to mention the 22% of noble prize winners [3/4 jewish or better]. If you invest in education like jewish custom encourages perhaps you would not be so jealous and hateful.

  18. Roberto – It’s not classy to turn down an upgrade, it’s pathetic and shows an unhealthy obsession with public appearance.

    Just like the arrogant bores above who couldn’t bear to be in proximity to someone wearing ripped jeans.

  19. I recall when Lucky write about Casey the last time. He questioned who he was and again the comments were full of totally misplaced negativity. Meanwhile Casey just won the GQ new media Man of the Year award in London. He has the fastest subscriber growth in YouTube history (trust me, that is saying something) and will hit 5 million subscribers within a month or so. Every video he posts gets millions of views meaning more people watch Casey then say Game of Thrones or Walking Dead… Combined. He is supremely skilled in what he does and produces extremely polished content daily, a virtually unheard of task at that level. He travels the world making videos for companies like Nike and Mercedes and Samsung and speaking at companies like Google and YouTube. In other words he is about as legit as you can get.

    I can understand that seeing one video and knowing nothing about him may be jarring and even confusing but dismissing him, his impact on social media or pop culture and his ability to greatly alter awareness and opinions of companies would be a mistake. He was the second most popular person on SnapChat, you may not know him, but your 13 year old kid does.

  20. can only agree with Ted and the amount of time he uses to create daily videos in a super high quality is amazing.

    and yes maybe emirates upgraded him on purpose but who can blame then for it?

  21. Mega kudos to Ted for an extremely cogent response to the haters out there. Casey is not everyone’s cup of tea, and many people are rubbed the wrong way by his apparent random choice of clothes, but he is a self made millionaire, business owner who at 17 was homeless and had a baby, and made his own way in the world. His wife is a fashion jewelry designer, and successful in her own right. Casey chooses and creates and posts on YouTube just like Ben has his own blog, because this way there is a direct connection to his viewers. Neistat had a show on HBO with his brother, Van but since has gone out on his own. He has created many campaigns for companies, but one thing he certainly knows how to do is connect you to the story he wants to tell.
    I do want to share one feel good video he did last Snowmageddon in NYC.

  22. He’s constantly delivering excellent quality videos. It’s perfectly fine to disagree on the content he produces – but he quality of his videos and the amount of work and passion he puts in to them is top notch!

    I’d rather spend 14h on a plane with a person that is fascinated by the product and somewhat inspiring than with someone who is judging others for their looks (a bit jealous?). Totally deserved to be upgraded and a smart move by EK – so absolutley nothing wrong about that!

  23. “Amen. I agree a 1000%. My initial reaction to the first minute of the video (I could not bear to watch any more) was that I don’t want to fly with or sit in an elegant bar with someone wearing torn jeans and a baseball cap. If that is your world I don’t want to be part of it.”

    You are sad man. I can’t even comprehend how people can judge this much.

  24. @Robert

    Perhaps you should apply to be the new Uniform Director who chooses what we all wear. Do we need brown or black trousers, a white shirt, and a tie, or is a polo ok? Do I need to part my hair on the right, the left, the middle or in your world do we all need to have our heads shaved? Just checking as you seem to think you have the last word on this. Hmm last time I checked you were not the King of anything.


  25. Casey Neistat is a cad. If you look at his earlier videos that made him popular, he was a diehard fan of American Airlines…until he called them and basically demanded elite status but was denied due to not spending enough with them (like any normal customer). Earn your status, don’t beg for it. Also, I feel bad that out of the Neistat brothers, Casey is the currently “famous” one. It is kind of obvious that Casey copied Vans style and stuck with it while Van evolved after the HBO series. sad really

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