George Clooney has made an interesting claim regarding a role he was offered in an airline commercial, and I can’t help but wonder what airline it was.
Clooney turned down lucrative airline commercial
On Friday, The Guardian published an interview with George Clooney, promoting his new film, and talking about his success. One of the most interesting points in the interview is regarding him being offered $35 million for a day of work on an airline commercial, but he turned it down:
“Well, yeah. I was offered $35m for one day’s work for an airline commercial, but I talked to Amal [Clooney, the human rights lawyer he married in 2014] about it and we decided it’s not worth it. It was [associated with] a country that, although it’s an ally, is questionable at times, and so I thought: ‘Well, if it takes a minute’s sleep away from me, it’s not worth it.’”
While I greatly value my sleep, I think my “price” for losing sleep is a wee bit lower than $35 million. 😉 But hey, good for Clooney!
Which airline ad did Clooney turn down?
As an aviation geek and someone who is fascinated by airline marketing, I can’t help but wonder which airline he turned down an offer with. The suggestion that the airline was from a country that’s “an ally” but “questionable at times” suggests to me that it must have been an airline from somewhere near the Gulf.
If I had to narrow it down to five airlines, I’d guess Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Saudia, or maybe even Turkish. While Emirates is the obvious option (more on that below), a few thoughts on the other carriers:
- While Etihad has had some big name stars for ads in the past (like Nicole Kidman), it probably wasn’t Etihad, since at this point the airline doesn’t have $35 million to blow on a campaign like this
- Qatar does spend a lot of money on marketing, but typically the airline doesn’t hire uber-famous people for ad campaigns
- Turkish has in the past used some big-name celebrities (like Morgan Freeman), so I could see this being a possibility, and I think it’s the second most likely explanation (after Emirates)
- Saudia is a wild card, but who knows, especially with the country trying to increase its tourism industry
Emirates spends a ton on marketing, and several years back the airline reportedly paid Jennifer Aniston $5 million to appear in an ad, which poked fun at US carriers. Ironically Aniston had talked in the past about being afraid of flying, and if I recall correctly that ad was filmed on a real A380 on the ground at LAX, since she didn’t want to fly to Dubai.
I guess my only surprise is that Clooney would be paid $35 million, while Aniston was paid $5 million. Admittedly the Aniston commercial was several years back, so is Clooney just that much more famous, has the rate for celebrity appearances in ads increased that much in the past several years, or is he exaggerating?
George Clooney claims he was offered $35 million to take part in a one-day airline commercial, but turned it down because it was associated with a country that’s “an ally,” but “questionable at times,” so he decided it wasn’t worth it.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is curious what airline we’re talking about. I’d have to assume it’s Emirates, though at the same time, $35 million seems like a lot more than the $5 million Jennifer Aniston was reportedly paid several years ago for her Emirates ad.
What carrier do you think Clooney turned down for an ad?