Turkish Airlines’ 2020 Super Bowl Ad

Filed Under: Turkish, Videos

The Super Bowl was last night, or as I know it, a Halftime Show with a bunch of usually pretty decent commercials.

Google’s “Loretta” ad wins all the prizes

I didn’t think the commercials last night were that great, though there were a few exceptions. For example, I felt bad for all the ads to come after the Google “Loretta” one, because my gosh…

I don’t want to keep watching it because I can’t stop tearing up, but damnit, I also can’t stop watching it. Make it stop!

Anyway, back to the travel angle…

Turkish Airlines’ 2020 Super Bowl ad

Turkish Airlines was the only airline to advertise during the Super Bowl this year, as they’ve been doing for the past several years. The airline had been teasing the ad through social channels, but finally released the whole 100-second spot yesterday.

The ad is called #StepOnEarth, and it makes the same point that Turkish Airlines makes with so many of their ads — the airline flies to more countries than any other airline in the world.

The message of the ad is simple — in 1969 we landed on the moon, and in 2020 billions of people haven’t gone abroad.

Turkish Airlines makes trips possible for three people who have never been abroad before. Not surprisingly, they stay with the space theme, and almost make it seem as if these people are being sent off to space, rather than taking an ordinary commercial airline flight.

Based on the scenery they show they might as well be going to another planet, because it’s so beautiful. Does anyone know where all these destinations are?

Here’s the full 100-second clip:

Overall I thought it was a well done though somewhat abstract ad. It’s interesting, though not surprising, that the focus was on travel rather than the airline as such. The airline isn’t showcasing the new airport in Istanbul, and they aren’t showcasing their new business class, but rather it’s all about how many places they fly.

Turkish Airlines’ past Super Bowl ads

Following last year’s Super Bowl the airline released a short film, called “The Journey,” which had some stunning visuals. What’s interesting there is that their Super Bowl ad was essentially just a teaser for this short film, so it did almost nothing to actually promote Turkish Airlines directly.

Their 2017 ad, starring Morgan Freeman, was pretty epic, because Morgan Freeman.

Bottom line

Turkish Airlines seems to take a different approach with their Super Bowl ad every year, and they consistently do a great job, in my opinion. I liked this year’s ad, though frankly, it wasn’t my favorite that they’ve done. Still, I thought it was one of the better ads during the Super Bowl.

What did you make of Turkish Airlines’ 2020 Super Bowl ad?

  1. I liked the “Soda Stream” ad with water from Mars, as well ‘Groundhog day’ v2 with Bill Murray for Jeep

  2. I also remember the Turkish ad with Kobe Bryant and Messi a few years ago. I can’t remember but was that a superbowl ad?

  3. OK Turkish, no need to pay me now, but here are some edits. Rather than say these three ‘have never flown before’ which doesn’t work as they look like a bunch of Marvel Superheroes off on a mission as they confidently stride towards the plane – perhaps you should have said that they’re about to embark on journeys to remote/extreme etc etc places on earth.

    I get the fact that it’s all about the visuals, but it falls apart a bit if you’re trying to get us to follow a narrative that is clearly clunky – trying to tie the first man on the moon to these pax’ steps on earth – meanwhile celebrating their first flights along with the first flight to the moon. Now I feel jetlagged.

  4. Safe to say, most of us go to this website for reviews, above all. There’s an airline people are excited about, one that you personally have been overhyping, and one that you had to go to great lengths to fly. It’s been almost a week since you’ve flown it and no word. Don’t mean to diminish a lot of great work that you’ve done, but at the same – how long does it take to write one..

  5. @Syd, what do you do for a living? I also like to tell people how to do their job because I know better than them.

  6. I thought the Loretta ad was a downer…while sentimental it was def a buzz kill and too deep. I loved Turkish and was looking forward to their ad.

  7. you have been giving an insane amount of coverage for a fairly tiny airline (starlux) that very few of your readers are likely to ever fly.

  8. @Mo – I’m not telling people what to do. I’m a consumer of a service, and Lucky is a service provider. That’s how he makes a living – off me and you being here and clicking on stuff. And as a consumer I have expectations about its quality, as well as a right to make comments about its quality.

  9. @ Syd — In all sincerity, that’s actually a really interesting topic.

    The trip reports are a time-consuming labor of love, which we enjoy doing and think add diversity to the site, but while they have passionate readers (and more passionate critics), they actually don’t generate much in the way of revenue or interest compared to the other content on the site, and certainly nothing close to compensating for the costs required to produce them.

    As a “consumer of a service” would you consider paying for a premium and more curated content experience? If so, how much?

  10. @ Syd… Give him a break. He does very thorough reviews and just came back from half way around the world. That said I’m also eager to see where he stayed in Penang and the review. Kind of hoping he stayed at the Hyatt property as I just stayed at the McAlister Mansion.

  11. @Syd I believe the takeaway is: you pay nothing so you should keep opinions and expectations to yourself. No one should ever try to improve … unless they’re paid to do so.


  12. @Tiffany, Thank you for the response!
    I completely get your points, but I think we can both agree that trip reviews is what got this blog started and what allowed it to become the big resource(and business) it is. I understand that revenue-wise an average trip report probably carries a lot less incentive for you, compared to an average idk – credit card review, maybe? However, myself and I’d assume most others found out about the website because of the reports. Thus, I think it’s only fair for us to expect they come out frequently – especially on stuff so hyped by you guys. It wasn’t me who found out about Starlux and in practical terms I don’t care much – I travel over the Atlantic 90% of time. It was Ben putting post after post saying how excited he was. You’d think something this exciting is worth extra time and effort.

    To the second part, I can only say – I’m willing to pay the market rate, or above it for above average service. Current market rate is zero – as there’re plenty of competitors who don’t charge for access to reviews. You guys also aren’t above average, not at present for sure – competitors put out more reviews, do so faster, on a wider variety of products and last, but not least – don’t post a virtue signaling/highly-political post once every few days.
    With that said, I am still your consumer, and so are others – you monetize our visits to this blog. You aren’t doing this for free.

    And look, don’t get me wrong, and I’m not trying to be mean – I like this blog, despite some things i mentioned. But I don’t think the things I pointed out are unreasonable, and I do believe it’s fair of readers to expect a more professional conduct in certain aspects.

  13. @ Syd — Appreciate your thoughts, and truly love that you love the trip reports. This is exactly what I meant when I said that the people who love the reviews are very passionate and vocal, and it is something we enjoy about the community here. But your assumptions miss the mark a bit — the reviews aren’t what got the blog started (they’ve only ever been a small % of posts compared to Ben talking about news, insights, promos, the industry or world in general, etc.), and they aren’t what bring most readers to the site for the first (or second) time. Yet Ben still wrote eight (8) review posts in seven (7) days last week, and published a teaser of his Starlux flight, which I think is fairly frequently, so we are doing what we can to balance.

    If you’re only interested in the ~15% of the content that is trip reviews, I certainly understand — hopefully you can appreciate that we have a diverse audience, and many people enjoy the other content too.

  14. Turkish Airlines followed up with a related ad in today’s print Wall St. Journal. Unfortunately, it is composed of dense lines of small text, so few are likely to read it.

  15. @ Syd — In addition to what Tiffany has said, let me share a few thoughts.

    First of all, if you’re “not trying to be mean,” and if it’s in fact your intention to be constructive, do you think this is the way to go about it? Telling me to do “like [my] only job” and then telling me my trip reports are average?

    Next, airline reviews are a real passion of mine. I love airline products, and experiencing what is out there. I’d rather fly a new crappy business class than Lufthansa first class again, because there’s something so exciting to me about being able to document something new. Some readers share that passion, and it makes me really happy.

    Now, a few important points. I published my last installment of the review on Thursday. Thursday through Saturday the OMAAT team had an in-person meeting, which is the first time in a year that has happened. I spent yesterday with my mom, and I spent five hours today driving from Tampa to Miami to get back home. I simply haven’t had the time to write the next installment yet, and I’m not at all sorry about it — everything I did was time well spent, for the blog, for me personally, etc.

    On average it takes me about three hours to write a trip report installment, and that doesn’t include the time I put into editing and selecting photos, etc. This morning between 5AM and 8AM I managed to write six blog posts. Alternatively I guess I could have written one trip report.

    Since you’re telling me to “do [my] only job,” maybe you’d be interested in a few facts:
    — Trip reports don’t actually get significantly more than average traffic at the time they’re published, so since you seem very concerned about my “job,” surely you can understand how it would be difficult for me to justify writing one trip report post on a Monday morning, rather than six other posts?
    — While I appreciate the passion of many people, and it’s definitely a part of the overall blog success, I would disagree with the statement that reviews are what got this blog started and made it successful. It’s one of many things.
    — Hundreds of thousands of people will visit this website today, and they’re all looking for different things, believe it or not.
    — Fun fact: in the past four months I’ve written more trip reports and have published them more quickly than at any other point in the blog’s nearly 12 year history. So if your expectations aren’t being met, then maybe that’s on you and not me.

    The way I view it, I basically write my trip reports in what would otherwise be my “free time.” Since this blog is my business and also my social life, that’s usually in the evenings. During the business day I try to write posts that are relevant to that day, and then in the evenings I write the posts that take hours to write.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some trip reports to go write…

  16. @lucky – OH my! Your response seems excessive and defensive. Syd didn’t strike me as mean-spirited. It’s unfortunate you took it that way and replied the way you did.
    Enjoy writing the trip reviews. Be sure to stay away from Laderach chocolate if you’re looking for a snack!

  17. @Will doesn’t seem so to me. @Syd posted an opinion criticizing Ben’s involvement in the blog. And look, I am someone that very much enjoys trip reports and would definitely like to see more, but only so much can be realistically reviewed. It seems pretty unfair to question Ben’s time dedication to the blog. *He* writes a lot considering that he’s the only one that posts on a regular basis (with occasional posts from Tiffany and other contributors).

    The only blog that comes to mind that may release more reviews than Ben on a regular basis is TPG, which btw is backed by a multimillion dollar financial services company and has a team of 25 vs the much smaller independent team at OMAAT. I got nothing personal on TPG, but what they release are lame promo after lame promo, followed by some interesting posts in between as well as plastic reviews filled with affiliate links and dull/questionable opinions. @Syd, if that’s the product that you are looking after, then I think that you are in the wrong website buddy. Again, nothing personal, just some constructive feedback 😉

  18. @ Ben Holz — Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Just one correction, to further point out the difference in scale — TPG has over 100 employees. Indeed, if you’re looking a VC-backed blog/self-proclaimed “major lifestyle brand,” then indeed OMAAT isn’t for you.

  19. @Will: “Your response seems excessive and defensive. ”

    As does yours. In fact, I’m pretty sure a writer can’t use “excessive and defensive” as a phrase without being… well… excessive and defensive. (Ouroboros’r’us.)


  20. Nice ad, but I’m assuming the three people they show are actors representing the idea of flying/leaving the US for the first time, rather than actually being real people who won some contest to travel the world on Turkish’s dime. Had they been real people, I’m sure Turkish would have made that clear, had them identify themselves, etc.

    Which brings me to my review of the ad, which is that Turkish would have been better off making this ad as the announcement of some kind of contest for people who have never left the US to win a free around the world ticket, or something along those lines. Something like Australia’s famous ad campaign, where people can submit vides about why they should win the ticket, along the lines of this famous Australian campaign: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Best_Job_in_the_World_(advertising)

  21. @syd & @will i think both of your comments are sincere. I understand your giving Lucky advice that he doesn’t want to hear.

    Readers like these maybe are your gems The passionate are most interested in the blogs success.

    I do understand lucky’s point of view that a blog should have different type content to appeal to Other readers as well. Sometimes it maybe not clear what constructive feedback your readers are attempting to share.

    Forgive me for my two cents.

  22. @FLLTRavel – Gems? @syd told Lucky he had one job.

    I, for one, disagree wholeheartedly and would be bored out of my mind if all I read all day were nothing but trip reviews. (There are definitely other sites, forums and blogs for that.) I appreciate the posts that Lucky does for enjoyment, entertainment, news, opinions, etc. I used to read TPG and OMAAT, but I can no longer stand to read TPG anymore. It’s ad after ad after ad. Even the reviews are ads for credit cards. I appreciate that Lucky still has his personality in his blogs and takes personal ownership in the content.

    (P.S. I absolutely loved the cooking series with Lucky and Tiffany – would love seeing more of that!)

  23. I really loved the Turkish Airlines ad. I was rating the ads as part of their Admeter panel on USA Today’s website, and I gave Turkish a perfect 10. Most people didn’t see it my way…the ad came in at #48 on their list of 62 Super Bowl 2020 ads.

  24. Since this thread was originally established to opine on the TK ad at yesterday’s Super Bowl, I can only say it wasn’t the best TK commercial they’ve produced.

    In regards to the lively exchange regarding how @Lucky allots his time in creating content for a blog we all seem to enjoy (it brought us here) I
    totally agree with the views presented by: @TravelLawyerMom, @Ben Holz @Hal O’Brien, @Mo, @Tifanny and @Lucky’s candid assessment of how chooses his time to be productive for this blog. Nothing more for me to add!

  25. @Ryan

    ‘have never flown before’ is nowhere in the ad.
    Your superheroes ‘have never been abroad’
    The lame part is there are dozens of places to go for the first time abroad than middle of nowhere places.

    No one forces you to stick around. The internet is huge. There is stuff about Trump for lovers and haters. And there is always porn for you. (Thanks UA for reminding people that porn is now part of air travel)

  26. Enjoyed the video and I have had more than a few trips inspired by a picture, video or article from this blog. Sure it’s a commercial for the airline but the message of getting out and seeing the world is wonderful.
    Easy to see through the smokescreen of your “constructive “criticism you just want to jab and hurt. Currently enjoying Norway so will have a chuckle and think of you every time I see a troll.

  27. @Ben @Tiffany

    Just wanted to state my support for the blog and ALL posts (not just trip reports) and including the “political” ones.

  28. Turkish Airlines is such a trashy company !! Please do not support Erdogan and turks who are killing Kurds, Syrians and Libyans while he thinks he can bring back the Ottoman empire\occupation to Middle East and Europe !!

  29. Turkish Airlines is doing the right thing by promoting itself during Super Bowl. But its adverts should promote the excellence of Turkish Airlines’ inflight product and the spectacular new Istanbul Airport. The latest ad is too vague.

  30. Absolutely loving The Journey!!

    Not heard anything about it until now – it’s simply brilliant!!

  31. I, for one, love both the reviews and the other types of posts, related to travel.
    So keep doing what you’re doing Lucky!

    To go back on the ads, I think many people missed the scary side of the Google ad. Google runs a sophisticated worldwide spying operation, meant to collect as much of your personal data as they can, to in turn, sell you to the highest bidder. What they want you to do is to tell them everything about your life for them to graciously “remember” for you to increase your value to them.
    Remember, “if it’s free, you’re the product”

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